Justice Department charges 601 in healthcare fraud, opioid probe

Feds charge 600 in opioid fraud that bilked $2B from government and insurers

AG Sessions Announces 601 Charged Amid Largest Opioid Crackdown

On Thursday, the Department of Justice unveiled an array of new healthcare fraud cases accusing about 600 defendants nationwide of submitting $2 billion in false bills to the Medicare program for the elderly, the TRICARE system for military members and private insurance companies.

According to the US attorney general's office, 601 defendants were charged for alleged fraud totaling an estimated $2 billion. Officials said Steiner, as the operator of Kentuckiana Mental Health Associates, prescribed medically unnecessary drugs, also prescribing drugs outside professional practice.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 115 Americans die each day from opioid-related overdoses. These are despicable crimes.

Of that staggering total, about 125 defendants were charged in South Florida with filing almost $340 million in fraudulent claims for opioid addiction treatment, home healthcare and prescription drugs covered by taxpayer-funded programs and other insurance plans.

Thomas Carpenter, who was medical director at Foundational Health, a Tampa area clinic, and Caridad Limberg-Gonzalez, who owned the clinic, are charged with conspiracy to commit health care fraud and wire fraud, four counts of health care fraud and three counts of making false statements. In its own announcement, HHS claimed that, since the last takedown, it has issued exclusion notices to 587 individuals, including 67 doctors, 402 nurses, and 40 people involved in pharmacy services "whose conduct has contributed to opioid diversion and abuse".

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"It is not that we are over-regulating, but doctors and medical practitioners are more aware", he said. Crosby is accused of paying an alleged co-conspirator to recruit patients by promising them cash or other inducements, and Crosby allegedly billed for services not rendered, they said.

The indictment charges Irena Shut, 41, an attorney who lives in Hidden Hills, with paying kickbacks to two podiatrists to authorize prescriptions written on pre-printed prescription pads created to maximize insurance payments, regardless of the medical need for an expensive compounded formulary for each "patient".

Patino is accused of submitting claims to Medicare and Medicaid for health care that wasn't performed or wasn't necessary. Separately, dozens of distributors and drug manufacturers are facing charges from cities, states, counties, and Native American tribes in a consolidated case in an OH federal court that could yield an unprecedented settlement. "Health care fraud costs the country tens of billions of dollars a year, and the FBI seeks to identify and pursue investigations against the most egregious offenders involved in health care fraud through investigative partnerships with other federal agencies".

Sessions went on to say 162 people were charged, specifically in regard to opioid distribution.

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