Justice Department charges 601 in healthcare fraud, opioid probe

Justice Department charges 601 in healthcare fraud, opioid probe

Justice Department charges 601 in healthcare fraud, opioid probe

"We've charged another 162 people, including 32 doctors, with illegal distribution of opioids - just opioids - so, this is the most doctors and the most medical personnel, unfortunately, and the most fraud that the Department of Justice has ever taken on in any single enforcement action", said the attorney general. Of the 601 arrests, 161 doctors, licensed medical professionals, and other suspects are charged with prescribing and distributing addictive opioid painkillers.

He also assigned a dozen prosecutors to focus exclusively on investigating and prosecuting opioid-related healthcare fraud in districts in need. According to the CDC, approximately 115 Americans die every day of an opioid-related overdose.

While the Justice Department has been conducting investigations into some opioid manufacturers like OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma LP, the cases stemming from the sweep did not focus on wrongdoing by major corporations.

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Numerous criminal cases announced on Thursday involved charges against medical professionals who authorities said had contributed to the country's opioid epidemic by participating in the unlawful distribution of prescription painkillers.

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. Kitco Metals Inc. and the author of this article do not accept culpability for losses and/ or damages arising from the use of this publication. They include 76 doctors, 23 pharmacists, 19 nurses, and other medical workers.

Patino is accused of submitting claims to Medicare and Medicaid for health care that wasn't performed or wasn't necessary. The cases allege health care fraud and kickback scams involving surgeries, compounded drugs, home health services, Medicare Part D prescription drugs and hospice care.

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"Health care fraud is theft and it's drug dealing", Coleman said.

"It takes a special kind of person to prey on the sick and vulnerable as happened in many of these health care fraud schemes", said Deputy Chief of IRS Criminal Investigation Eric Hylton.

Charges against Dr. Bingston Crosby, a chiropractor, include health care fraud, money laundering and mail fraud, authorities said. The treatment facility's CEO, Paul R. Materia, 43, and patient brokers Joseph Lubowitz, 29, and Christopher Fuller, 33, were charged with illegally recruiting patients, paying kickbacks and defrauding healthcare programs by billing for urine testing and substance abuse treatment that were medically unnecessary.

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United States v. Lacey Staveley: Lacey Staveley, also a nurse, was charged with one count of acquiring a controlled substance by misrepresentation, fraud, deception, and subterfuge, and three counts of false statements relating to health care matters. Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force has charged over 3,700 defendants who collectively have falsely billed the Medicare program for over $14 billion. A person is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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