Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex M. Azar III, announced today the largest ever health care fraud enforcement action involving 601 charged defendants across 58 federal districts, including 165 doctors, nurses and other licensed medical professionals, for their alleged participation in health care fraud schemes involving more than $2 billion in false billings.
Of those charged, 162 defendants, including 76 doctors, were charged for their roles in prescribing and distributing opioids and other dangerous narcotics. Thirty state Medicaid Fraud Control Units also participated in today’s arrests. In South Florida, 124 defendants were charged with offenses relating to their participation in various fraud schemes involving over $337 million in false billings for services including home health care and pharmacy fraud.
In one South Florida case, an owner, medical director, and two employees of a sober home were charged with conspiracy to commit health care and wire fraud, substantive counts of health care fraud, and substantive counts of money laundering, Sessions said. The indictment alleges a scheme that illegally recruited patients, paid kickbacks, and defrauded health care benefit programs for widespread fraudulent urine testing. During the course of the fraudulent scheme, the facility submitted more than $106 million in claims for substance abuse treatment services.
Read the Department of Justice Press Release here: National Health Care Fraud Takedown Results in Charges Against 601 Individuals Responsible for Over $2 Billion in Fraud Losses
The takedown comes just a day after federal prosecutors unsealed indictments on Wednesday against two Palm Beach County sober home operators from West Palm Beach and Delray Beach who both face charges of money laundering and health care fraud. Six others affiliated with the treatment centers were also indicted, including a West Palm Beach psychiatrist.
And in related news, the story of Kenny Chatman, who pled guilty to health care fraud and trafficking women through his chain of South Florida sober homes, will be featured Monday on the CNBC true-crime series American Greed. Chatman was sentenced to 27 years in federal prison last May.