Federal authorities indict 53 people as part of crackdown into Medicaid fraud

WASHINGTON — Federal authorities indicted 53 people on Wednesday in schemes to cheat Medicaid out of $50 million.

Suspects were arrested in Detroit, Miami and Denver as part of a wide-ranging government effort to crack down on those defrauding the government-funded health care program for the elderly and disabled.

Attorney General Eric Holder, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and FBI director Robert Mueller announced the charges at a news conference in Washington.

Sebelius said the Obama administration is determined to crack down on Medicare fraud through new teams of investigators detecting patterns of false billing. Forty suspects have been arrested and the rest are being sought, authorities said.

Prosecutors say the suspects concocted schemes to submit bogus claims to Medicare for treatments that were medically unnecessary and in many cases never provided.

Some beneficiaries accepted cash payments in exchange for signing paperwork claiming they had received certain medical treatments, authorities said.

The charges were filed against the operators of infusion therapy and physical therapy clinics. Those charged include doctors, medical assistants, company owners and executives plus those who claimed to be patients.

Federal authorities indict 53 people as part of crackdown into Medicaid fraud 06/24/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 24, 2009 9:42pm]

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