On its website, the Department of Justice recently announced charges against 601 people across the United States as part of its National Health Care Fraud Takedown. The defendants include 76 doctors who are accused of illegal prescription peddling “and distributing opioids and other dangerous narcotics.”
Among those arrested were 35 in the Eastern District of Michigan. The DOJ said they are facing charges of fraud, money laundering and participating in drug diversion schemes that resulted in about $197 million in false Medicare claims for medical services that weren’t necessary or weren’t performed.
The Department of Justice said one of those facing charges in our state is a doctor accused of being part of kickback schemes with a pair of home health agencies. The alleged conspiracy resulted in more than $12 million in fraudulent billings, the DOJ said in a press statement.
Across the nation, those charged with health care fraud include not only the 76 physicians, but 89 nurses and other licensed medical professionals.
According to the DOJ statement, the charges targeted individuals and conspirators who submitted false billing to Medicare, Medicaid, TRICARE (a health insurance program for military members and their families) and private insurers.
The DOJ also said there were additional people charged with Medicaid fraud, including at least one person here in Michigan.
While the charges are all serious, it is important to remember that defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in court. Those facing similar charges should speak with an attorney experienced in federal criminal defense before they discuss evidence or allegations with investigators or prosecutors.