By Dr. Thu Pham, O.D., Law Clerk
On October 4, 2012, federal authorities arrested 33 suspects in South Florida for allegedly filing fraudulent Medicare claims totaling $205 million. Payment of bribes and kickbacks, as well as payments to patient recruiters were an issue in this investigation.
Feds Focus on Crackdown of Medicare Fraud Nationwide.
These arrests are part of a nationwide initiative to crack down on theft committed by individuals against Medicare. Peter Budetti, the Medicare anti-fraud czar states that the goal is to catch the fraud before the fraudsters “can successfully bill Medicare.” Previously, fraud was caught only after the funds were disbursed and spent.
The Miami area is among the nation’s highest when it comes to the commission of Medicare fraud, particularly involving the areas of mental health, physical health, nursing homes, home health care, and durable medical equipment suppliers.
Fraud Committed with Bribes and Kickbacks.
In an attempt to effectuate the fraud scheme, some of the defendants allegedly conspired to pay thousands of dollars in bribes and kickbacks to both recruiters and patients. The defendants allegedly billed Medicare for services that were not medically necessary.
What is the Penalty?
If convicted, these defendants will not only be required to pay fines and penalties, but will also face prison time.
Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced in Handling Medicare Audits.
Medicare fraud is a serious crime and is vigorously investigated by the state MFCU, the Agency for Healthcare Administration (AHCA), the Zone Program Integrity Contractors (ZPICs), the FBI, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Often other state and federal agencies, including the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), and other law enforcement agencies participate. Don’t wait until it’s too late. If you are concerned of any possible violations and would like a confidential consultation, contact a qualified health attorney familiar with medical billing and audits today. Often Medicare fraud criminal charges arise out of routine Medicare audits, probe audits, or patient complaints.
The Health Law Firm’s attorneys routinely represent physicians, medical groups, clinics, pharmacies, home health care agencies, nursing homes, group homes and other healthcare providers in Medicaid and Medicare investigations, audits and recovery actions.
To contact The Health Law Firm please call (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.
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Miami Herald. “Medicare fraud crackdown nets 33 arrests in South Florida.” Miami Herald
(October 4, 2012). From: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/10/04/v-fullstory/3034167/feds-charge-more-than-30-suspects.html.
Local10. “33 arrested in Miami for Medicare fraud.” Local 10 (October 4, 2012). From http://www.local10.com/news/33-arrested-in-Miami-for-Medicare-fraud/-/1717324/16853802/-/q7addoz/-/index.html.
About the Author: Dr. Thu Pham, OD, is a law clerk with The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.