A massive Medicare fraud bust has netted more than 100 people and an estimated $450 million in false billings, the Associated Press reports. The nationwide operations have been under investigation for several months on suspicions of defrauding Medicare, Medicaid and other federal health programs.
So far, at least 91 defendants—including 59 in Miami, 22 in Detroit and nine in Houston—have been taken into custody, on charges ranging from conspiracy and money-laundering to health care fraud and violation of anti-kickback statutes. Those arrested include nurses, therapists, social workers, a pharmacist and ambulance companies.
An alleged scheme in Baton Rouge was one of the worst, officials say. There, seven community health center workers were charged with recruiting nursing home patients and homeless people—including some who were mentally ill or drug addicts—and providing them with medically inappropriate or sometimes no services in order to bill Medicare for their treatment.
“The results we are announcing today are at the heart of an administration-wide commitment to protecting American taxpayers from health care fraud,” said Attorney General Eric Holder at a press conference. “We are determined to bring to justice those who violate our laws and defraud the Medicare program for personal gain.”
Thursday Quick Hits:
- Headlines earlier in the week touted how the average 401(k) balance had risen 62 percent since the depths of the recession. But some finance experts are asking “so what?”
- Meanwhile, others point out that despite the rise, the median 401(k) balance was just $23,000 and the average balance $74,600. Of course, that includes a wide range of 401(k) participants, including those just starting to save. Account holders 55 or older who’d participated for at least 10 years had an average of $237,600 saved.
- A creative storytelling project called TimeSlips aims to “help people with dementia reaffirm their humanity and connect” by encouraging them to use their imaginations.
- And folks 50 and older are buying more than three out of every five new cars, according to a new study from J.D. Power and AARP.
Photo: Haraz N. Ghanbari/AP