Good afternoon. Today we are announcing charges against 91 defendants across the country, including 19 who were charged last week in Detroit and Miami, and two who were charged the week before in Dallas.
Each is charged with the serious crime of defrauding the Medicare program. We allege that, together, these defendants submitted approximately $295 million in fraudulent Medicare claims. This represents the largest Medicare fraud takedown yet, as measured by the amount of alleged fraudulent billings.
As charged in the indictments, the defendants cover nearly the entire spectrum of healthcare providers, and perpetrated a variety of fraudulent schemes. A doctor in Detroit allegedly billed Medicare for performing psychotherapy treatments more than 24 hours per day. He is also charged with billing the Medicare program for services provided to dead beneficiaries.
The owner of a healthcare referral business in Houston is charged with recruiting, in exchange for kickbacks, Medicare beneficiaries for approximately 100 different home healthcare agencies.
A supervisor at a community mental health center in Miami, that is charged with submitting over $50 million in fraudulent billings to Medicare, allegedly threatened to evict residents of a boarding house he also managed, unless they attended the center. A registered nurse, mental health counselors, and other healthcare professionals are charged with participating in the same scheme.
The indictments announced today serve as a powerful reminder that Medicare fraud is a nationwide problem. From Brooklyn, to Miami, to Los Angeles, the defendants allegedly treated the Medicare program like a personal piggy bank. But today’s law enforcement operations also serve as a wake-up call that our fight remains nationwide as well – and with increasingly successful results.
With Medicare Fraud Strike Force teams now in nine cities across the country, and employing sophisticated, data-driven law enforcement methods, we are determined to hold Medicare cheats criminally responsible. And that is exactly what we will continue to do.
Our relentless efforts to investigate and prosecute Medicare fraud over the past two-and-a-half years are only getting stronger. Just ask the registered nurse in Miami who was sentenced to 10 years in prison in August. Our investigative methods are becoming more sophisticated. Just ask the infusion therapy clinic owner in Detroit who was sentenced to 10 years in prison in March. And our resolve has never been greater. Just ask the Miami doctor who was sentenced to 19-and-a-half years in prison in June.
It is my great privilege to work with the dedicated Strike Force prosecutors of the Criminal Division and the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, and to partner with courageous law enforcement agents at the FBI and HHS-OIG. Together, we are waging an important battle to safeguard the Medicare program.
Thank you. I would now like to turn it over to my colleague, Inspector General Levinson.