U.S. officials announce 89 Medicare fraud arrests

May 14, 2013 at 5:29 PM

WASHINGTON, May 14 (UPI) -- A total of 89 people have been charged with falsely billing Medicare $223 million in fraud schemes, U.S. prosecutors said Tuesday.

The arrests were the eighth takedown by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, Attorney General Eric Holder and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a joint statement. The strike force, created in 2007, is a joint program by the two departments.

In one case, in Miami, 25 people were allegedly involved in a series of fraud schemes that brought in $44 million in false billings for everything from mental health services to treatment for AIDS. The lead defendant allegedly spent ill-gotten gains on luxury cars, including two Lamborghinis, a Ferrari and a Bentley.

In New Orleans, a total of five individuals, including two doctors have been charged with millions of dollars in false billings.

The group allegedly paid "patients" for their Medicare information, using it to bill for services not supplied.

In Los Angeles, 13 people were charged with a series of schemes that brought in $23 million. In one case, defendants allegedly supplied powered wheelchairs that were not needed.

In Houston, a brother and sister, one a nurse and the other a medical social worker, allegedly billed Medicare $8.1 million for services not supplied.

Eighteen people were charged in Detroit. Three of the defendants allegedly posed as doctors and prescribed psychoactive drugs for patients in psychotherapy.

In Tampa, four people allegedly operated clinics that were actually fronts for Medicare fraud.

Seven people, including two doctors, were charged in Chicago. In New York City's Brooklyn borough, two doctors and two others were charged.

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