Many may believe that they can fly under the radar when scamming the government, thinking that the amount that they take is so small that it will go unnoticed. The government, however, has other ideas and takes schemes to defraud the American taxpayers very seriously. Several medical professionals recently learned just how serious the government protects taxpayer money.
In an effort to crack down on Medicare fraud, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force arrested and charged 111 people for participation in fraud schemes. According to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Department of Justice (DOJ) officials, the 111 arrested were accused of defrauding the government to the tune of $225 million.
Those arrested included doctors, nurses, physical therapists and health care company executives. The fraudulent schemes that those arrested were involved in ranged from the complex to the simple, including overbilling and charging for services not performed to money laundering and identity theft.
In response to the coordinated arrests, Attorney General Eric Holder stated: “We have safeguarded precious taxpayer dollars. And we have helped to protect our nation’s most essential healthcare programs, Medicare and Medicaid.”
Secretary Kathleen Sebelius commented on the success of efforts to recover money taken in Medicare fraud schemes: “From 2008-2010, every dollar the federal government spent under its Health Care Fraud and Abuse Control Programs averaged a return on investment of $6.80.”
Medicare fraud isn’t covered by just one statute. Statutes such as the Social Security Act and the False Claims Act make it a crime to commit Medicare Fraud. Many of the statutes that encompass Medicare fraud impose fines and prison terms on those found guilty of running afoul of the law.
Sources: Medicare Fraud: 111 US Doctors, Nurses Arrested; Operation Targets $225M in Healthcare Fraud