More than 600 medical professionals across the United States now face charges in connection with the "largest (ever) health care fraud crackdown", the USA attorney's office said Thursday. In the past fiscal year, the Department of Justice, including the Civil Division, has collectively won or negotiated over $2 billion in judgements and settlements related to matters alleging health care fraud. The Justice Department charged 162 defendants, including 76 doctors, for their roles dispensing opioids and narcotics, the result of investigations spanning 30 state Medicaid programs and numerous enforcement agencies.
This announcement appears to reflect both an ongoing commitment by the DOJ to prosecute health care fraud and opioid abuse cases, and that the emphasis by HHS on administratively excluding providers has become a part of the enforcement landscape over the past year. According to the CDC, approximately 115 Americans die every day of an opioid-related overdose.
The strike force location with the most suspects charged was the Southern District of Florida, where 124 defendants were accused of participating in schemes involving more than $337 million in false billings.
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The Justice Department also announced other cases unrelated to opioids, including schemes to bill the government healthcare programs Medicare, Medicaid and Tricare as well as private insurers for medically unnecessary prescription drugs and compounded medications. Kitco Metals Inc. and the author of this article do not accept culpability for losses and/ or damages arising from the use of this publication.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently announced 601 people have been charged in what he called the "largest health care fraud" take-down the nation has ever seen.
The charged podiatrists, Domenic Signorelli, 51, of Irvine, and Robert Joseph, 51, of Huntington Beach, along with several other unnamed co-conspirator doctors, allegedly received kickbacks for "writing" the prescriptions. In many cases, doctors, nurses, and pharmacists take advantage of people suffering from drug addiction in order to line their pockets. That's why this Department of Justice has taken historic new steps to go after fraudsters, including hiring more prosecutors and leveraging the power of data analytics.
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Doctors, pharmacists, nurses and other medical officials are among the charged. In many cases, investigators said, patient beneficiaries were paid cash kickbacks for supplying information to medical providers. The charges were filed in federal court in Brooklyn and Central Islip.
Yesdel Acosta and Eduardo Chinea-Martinez were charged with one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, 16 counts of health care fraud, 13 counts of theft from a health care benefit program, 13 counts aggravated identity theft, 10 counts of money laundering and four counts of mail fraud.
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