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Thread: DOJ announces charges against 400 people for $1.3 billion in health-care fraud

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  1. #1
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    DOJ announces charges against 400 people for $1.3 billion in health-care fraud

    DOJ announces charges against 400 people for $1.3 billion in health-care fraud

    By Sari Horwitz and Renae Merle
    July 13 at 1:50 PM
    Play Video 2:40

    Sessions announces charges against 412 people, the largest takedown in U.S. history

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced charges against 412 people for $1.3 billion in health-care fraud in a news conference on July 13.(The Washington Post)

    More than 400 people across the country have been charged with participating in health care fraud scams totaling about $1.3 billion in false billings, including for the prescription and distribution of opioids.

    In what federal officials Thursday called the “largest ever health care fraud enforcement action” by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, 412 individuals, including 115 doctors, nurses and other licensed medical professionals, were arrested in a nationwide operation that involved more than 1,000 law enforcement agents in at least 30 states.

    “One American dies of a drug overdose every 11 minutes and more than 2 million Americans are ensnared in addiction to prescription painkillers,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said at a news conference. “We will continue to find, arrest, prosecute, convict and incarcerate fraudsters and drug dealers wherever they are.”
    Sessions said the operation began with tips from people in the affected communities and from “very sophisticated computer programs that identify outliers.”

    The investigation particularly focused on medical professionals who were involved in the unlawful distribution of opioids and other prescription narcotics, officials said. The abuse of pharmaceutical opioids is widely blamed for a medical crisis involving tens of thousands of overdoses on heroin and fentanyl.

    “Last year, an estimated 59,000 people died from a drug overdose…opioids play an enormous role in that total number,” said Chuck Rosenberg, acting administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration. “This is an epidemic.”

    Approximately 91 Americans die every day of an opioid related overdose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    Among the 412 defendants, 120 were charged with opioid-related crimes. Six of the doctors were charged with operating a scheme in Michigan to prescribe patients with unnecessary opioids, some of which were then sold on the street. The doctors allegedly billed Medicare for $164 million in false and fraudulent claims, according to federal officials.

    A clinic in Houston allegedly gave out prescriptions for cash.

    Officials said one doctor at the clinic provided 12,000 opioid prescriptions for over two million illegal painkiller doses. And a rehab facility for drug addicts in Palm Beach that is alleged to have recruited addicts with gift cards, visits to strip clubs and drugs billed the government for over $58 million in false treatments and tests.

    “Narcotics officers have arrested schoolteachers, doctors, nurses and fellow law enforcement personnel,” said acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe. “Many who succumb to the lure of the opioid high are kids…In some cases, we had addicts packed into standing-room only waiting rooms, waiting for those prescriptions.”

    McCabe said that some doctors wrote out more prescriptions for controlled substances in one month than entire hospitals were writing.

    Some of the health care fraud scams have been identified by local reporters in the communities where they occurred. The Palm Beach Post has covered the issue extensively and recently highlighted the Palm Beach County Sober Home Task Force, which in the past eight months has arrested and charged 28 owners and operators of drug treatment centers and sober homes with buying and selling insured addicts.

    And the national publication, STAT, has chronicled “addict brokers” who can earn tens of thousands of dollars by recruiting and arranging transportation and insurance coverage for desperate addicts from the Northeast and Midwest to go to drug rehab centers in Florida. Some of the centers are run by operators with no training or expertise and they often provide few services to the addicts, according to the STAT report.

    “Health care fraud is a reprehensible crime,” said Health and Human Services Inspector General Daniel Levinson. “It not only represents a theft from taxpayers who fund these vital programs, but impacts the millions of Americans who rely on Medicare and Medicaid.”

    This comes amid a larger debate about how the country should address the government estimates are addicted to opioids. The epidemic has swamped hospitals, even as public health authorities urge doctors to cut back on the prescriptions they offer. The shortage of treatment for people with opiod-use disorder has even complicated efforts in Congress to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. States struggling with the issue have objected to a proposed roll back of the ACA’s expansion of Medicaid, which is helping fund treatment for many people, for example.

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    July 18, 2017 By Ron Eagle
    Privates Jets and Bentleys – Six Muslim Doctors Scam Medicare For Whopping $164 Million

    The U.S. Justice Department is calling an opioid prescription drug and health care fraud scheme the largest operation of its kind in United States history, and part of it is centered in Metro Detroit.

    According to
    Officials have made 412 arrests nationwide, including 56 doctors and targeting 200 clinics. The Justice Department said those arrested are responsible for $1.3 billion in fraudulent transactions.
    Federal officials said a group of Michigan doctors was responsible for a major chunk of the scheme.
    One of the clinics hit in the sting operations is in Farmington. Federal officials said the opioid epidemic is part of it, but the medical office and a number of others were set up specifically as a criminal enterprise to rip off Medicare.

    Federal officers raided the Fisher Building Wednesday, and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said their work accounted for 10 percent of the scam’s value.
    “Six doctors in Michigan prescribed patients with unnecessary opioids, some of which ended up for sale on the streets,” Sessions said.

    A physician group called Global Quality used to operate out of a Woodward Avenue office building.
    West Bloomfield man named ring leader

    Mashiyat Rashid is accused of being the ring leader in scamming Medicare for $164 million. Rashid had no problem displaying his significant wealth on Facebook, where pictures show him standing in front of a Bentley sedan and a corporate jet. He also has pictures of himself and a friend courtside at the NBA Finals.

    Rashid is not a doctor, but the doctors named in the case are Joseph Betro, Spilios Pappas, Abdul Haq, Tariz Omar and Mohammad Zahoor.

    Federal officials indicted suspects a week ago and they’ve already been arraigned.

    More than 400 people across the country were charged Thursday for taking part in health care fraud and opioid scams including six Michigan doctors in connection with a raid Wednesday at the Fisher Building in Detroit.
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  4. #4
    MW is offline
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    Good job AG Sessions!
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