South Florida is known for its warm weather, trendy Miami and year-round sun. Unfortunately, it also leads the nation in Medicare fraud. Last week, the Miami Herald reported on a nationwide law enforcement crackdown that charged 91 people – including doctors and other medical professionals – with participating in Medicare fraud schemes that involved an astounding $295 million in false billing.
Last Tuesday and Wednesday, 70 people were charged in indictments unsealed, and 21 others were charged beginning on August 24th, according to Attorney General Eric Holder and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Charges were filed across the country, including Louisiana, New York, Illinois, Texas, California and Florida. In a news conference, Holder said that those charged are “jeopardizing the integrity of our health care system,” and Sebelius said the law enforcement initiative was “a powerful warning to those who would try to defraud taxpayers and Medicare beneficiaries.”
Of those that were arrested, 11 were doctors, 3 were nurses and 10 were licensed health care professionals. More than half of the defendants, 46, and $160 million of the total fraudulent claims came from South Florida. The Fraud Dog says, “If it happened in Miami, it is happening in Middle America, but under the radar.”
“In Miami, U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer said investigators noticed a new twist in which people who already were receiving Medicare disability checks were recruited with promises they could live in a halfway house in South Florida – as long as they agreed to receive mental health services they did not need,” said the article. Many were drug or alcohol addicts, and some were homeless. Ferrer also reported that they would be threatened with eviction if they refused to participate in the fraud scheme.
“This is what I am talking about, we need to move faster…SWARM, “said Linda Webb, “Fraudsters are constantly morphing to find new ways to beat the Medicare system.” The Fraud Dog, who is in talks for a new reality show similar to America’s Most Wanted, also says, “A PSA needs to be done on this to warn the American public, to get them activated and to get them involved to tell the Fraud Dog!” Fighting fraud must be a priority, we need to move faster to stop this epidemic that is having a detrimental effect on the economy. Contact Contego Services Group today for fraud investigation and risk management services by calling 1-855-WE-SWARM.