Federal law enforcement officials arrested 90 people May 13 on suspicion of Medicare fraud. According to USA Today, 16 of those individuals were doctors and were part of a scheme that collected approximately $260 million in false billings.
The source said that 50 people were charged with fraudulent billings for home health care, mental health and pharmacy services in Miami that was estimated at $65.5 million. Two additional suspects, also in Miami, were charged in a $23 million scheme that involved soliciting kickbacks from a pharmacy owner for providing beneficiary information. According to USA Today, the pharmacy owner then used the data to bill for prescription drugs that were never issued.
"The crimes charged represent the face of health care fraud today,'' Acting Assistant Attorney General David O'Neil told the source. "Doctors billing for services that were never rendered, supply companies providing motorized wheelchairs that were never needed, recruiters paying kickbacks to get Medicare billing numbers of patients."
O'Neil also told the source that the fraud was found in every part of the Medicare system and was the seventh enforcement action involving the Medicare Fraud Strike Force since 2009.
USA Today reported that five of the 16 doctors were based in Houston and accused of billing for "medically unnecessary" home health services. One doctor in Los Angeles was charged with $24 million in relation to fraudulent billings and referrals for medical equipment, that included 1,000 unnecessary wheelchairs that were often not even given to patients. Individuals were also arrested in Detroit,; Brooklyn, New York and Tampa, Florida.
The Tampa-based investigation involved five people that were charged for money laundering when they submitted bills using the names of beneficiaries in Miami for services provided. Dr. Syed Ahmed, in Brooklyn, allegedly submitted $85 million in bills to the government program from January 2011 to December 2013, USA Today reported. He was submitting bills for surgeries he never performed, submitting almost $27 million to Medicare in 2012.