12 indicted in N.Y. Medicare scams

Nov. 2, 2011 at 5:59 PM
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NEW YORK, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- A dozen people, including doctors and a chiropractor, were indicted in New York Wednesday for allegedly scheming to defraud Medicare out of $95 million.

The U.S. Justice Department, the FBI and the Health and Human Services Department said in a release the defendants are charged in two indictments and a superseding indictment with various healthcare fraud-related and money-laundering offenses. All but one of the defendants were in custody.

"Today 12 individuals -- including three medical doctors and other licensed health professionals -- were charged with participating in sophisticated Medicare fraud and money laundering schemes throughout Brooklyn and Queens," Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer said. "According to court documents, these defendants sought to profit by stealing millions of taxpayer dollars from the Medicare program and laundering the proceeds of this illegal activity."

U.S. Attorney Loretta E. Lynch said the defendants "allegedly invested significant time and energy in subterfuge to conceal their ill-gotten government funds." Money laundering, she said, "is a critical part of large scale healthcare fraud schemes and often the most difficult piece to unravel."

Five of the defendants are accused of trying to launder the proceeds of Medicare fraud at three Brooklyn-area medical clinics that allegedly paid kickbacks to Medicare beneficiaries and used the patients' names to bill Medicare for about $71 million in services that were medically unnecessary and never provided. A second indictment alleges six defendants, including three medical doctors and a chiropractor, participated in a $11.7 million fraud scheme at two medical clinics in Flushing, N.Y.

A third indictment alleges a Staten Island doctor of osteopathy of scheming to defraud Medicare of about $13 million.

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