DETROIT (WWJ) – A total of 32 people in metro Detroit have been snared in a nationwide heath care fraud dragnet involving hundreds of defendants.
According to the U.S. Attorney General’s Office, federal investigators uncovered $1.3 billion in fake billings coast to coast — including prescriptions for opioids and other narcotics.
The feds announced Tuesday that 412 people were charged across 41 federal districts, including 115 doctors, nurses and other licensed medical professionals.
Involving multiple federal agencies including the FBI and the DEA, it’s being called the largest health care fraud enforcement action in Department of Justice history.
“Too many trusted medical professionals like doctors, nurses, and pharmacists have chosen to violate their oaths and put greed ahead of their patients,” said Attorney General Sessions, in a statement. “Amazingly, some have made their practices into multi-million dollar criminal enterprises. They seem oblivious to the disastrous consequences of their greed.”
“Their actions not only enrich themselves often at the expense of taxpayers but also feed addictions and cause addictions to start,” Sessions he added.
In the Eastern District of Michigan, officials say 32 defendants face charges for their alleged roles in fraud, kickback, money laundering and drug diversion schemes involving approximately $218 million in false claims for services that were medically unnecessary or never rendered.
In one case, nine defendants — including six doctors — were charged with prescribing medically unnecessary controlled substances, some of which were sold on the street, and billing Medicare for $164 million in facet joint injections, drug testing, and other procedures that were medically unnecessary and/or were not provided.
“The consequences are real: emergency rooms, jail cells, futures lost, and graveyards. While today is a historic day, the Department’s work is not finished,” Sessions said. “In fact, it is just beginning. We will continue to find, arrest, prosecute, convict, and incarcerate fraudsters and drug dealers wherever they are.”
The names of those charged were not immediately released.