Task force uncovers $50M in alleged Medicare fraud; 53 arrested

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Fifty-three people have been indicted for schemes to submit more than $50 million in false Medicare claims in the continuing operation of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force in Detroit, according to an announcement made Wednesday by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and FBI Director Robert Mueller.

The individuals were arrested today in Detroit, Miami and Denver as a result of phase three operations of the strike force. A Detroit grand jury returned the indictments.

The Detroit operations of the joint Department of Justice (DoJ)-HHS Medicare Fraud Strike Force are part of the Health Care Fraud Prevention & Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), a renewed effort announced in May between the DoJ and HHS to focus their joint efforts to prevent fraud and enforce current anti-fraud laws around the country.

"Our joint efforts on HEAT don't just stop at the jailhouse door. Every dollar we can save by stopping fraud can be used to strengthen the long-term fiscal health of Medicare, bring down costs and deliver better service to Medicare beneficiaries," Sebelius said.

Today, federal agents from the FBI and the HHS Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) began executing arrest warrants in Detroit, Miami and Denver as part of a concentrated effort to address fraud in the metro-Detroit area.

Charges were unsealed today against 53 individuals who are accused of various Medicare fraud offenses, including conspiracy to defraud the Medicare program, criminal false claims and violations of the anti-kickback statutes. Collectively, the physicians, medical assistants, patients, company owners and executives charged in the indictments are accused of conspiring to submit more than $50 million in false claims to the Medicare program.

The cases are being prosecuted by attorneys from the fraud section in the DoJ's criminal division, including Deputy Chief Kirk Ogrosky and Trial Attorneys John K. Neal and Benjamin D. Singer as well Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas W. Beimers in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Michigan, on detail from HHS-OIG.