The widespread operations were led by DOJ's Health Care Fraud Unit in conjunction with the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, a collaboration of DOJ's criminal division, US attorney's offices, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and HHS' Office of Inspector General.
Federal authorities in Kentucky said Thursday they uncovered schemes to divert thousands of powerful opioid painkillers and submit millions of dollars in false medical billings as part of the government's nationwide crackdown on health care fraud. Physicians prescribed and distributed by opioid medications, of which there is a dependence among those they were not needed.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions specifically pointed out that 162 medical professionals were charged for actions related to addiction treatment and narcotic diversion schemes. Officials said Ruiz operated a false-front pharmacy where he stole and used the identities of patients and doctors to bill for prescriptions that patients never received, resulting in approximately $858,000 being paid out in fraudulent proceeds. These are despicable crimes.
Arrests were made in states across the country.
Numerous criminal cases announced on Thursday involved charges against medical professionals who authorities said had contributed to the country's opioid epidemic by participating in the unlawful distribution of prescription painkillers.
Over 42,000 Americans died from opioid overdoses in 2016, data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed. And the Justice Department says that while most medical professionals are honorable, this group took advantage of the opioid crisis for their own benefit. The takedown involves more than 600 defendants - from doctors and pharmacists, down to billing clerks.
Among dozens of new cases in South Florida, Greenberg zeroed in on Good Decisions Sober Living in West Palm Beach, whose operators recruited patients and paid kickbacks in order to bill $106 million for widespread fraudulent urine testing that was not medically necessary between 2011 and 2015, according to an indictment.
Dr. Kim allegedly took part in a scheme to submit claims to Medicare for physical therapy services that were not medically necessary, not provided, or otherwise did not qualify for reimbursement.
Meanwhile, Coleman predicted that he'll have "much more to report" in the efforts to uproot health care fraud.
United States v. James Moorehead: James Moorehead, a registered nurse, was charged with three counts of acquiring a controlled substance by misrepresentation, fraud, deception, or subterfuge, and seven counts of false statements relating to health care matters.