Justice Dept. announces crackdown on fraudulent opioid prescriptions

01 July, 2018, 00:33 | Author: Jeffery Armstrong
  • Feds charge 600 in opioid fraud that bilked $2B from government and insurers

The Department of health and the U.S. Department of justice excites hundreds of criminal cases in the largest fraud scheme related to the opioid crisis in the country.

The arrests come as the result of what the department called the largest heath care fraud takedown ever in the USA, with Attorney General Jeff Sessions calling the crimes "despicable" in a statement.

The Justice Department also announced other cases unrelated to opioids, including schemes to bill the government healthcare programs Medicare, Medicaid and Tricare as well as private insurers for medically unnecessary prescription drugs and compounded medications. Officials said Steiner, as the operator of Kentuckiana Mental Health Associates, prescribed medically unnecessary drugs, also prescribing drugs outside professional practice. In 2016, 116 people died every day from opioid-related drug overdoses, and over eleven million people misused prescription opioids. These are despicable crimes.

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One set of charges in Florida details what prosecutors described as $106 million in fraudulent claims for substance abuse treatment in a scheme that involved "widespread fraudulent urine testing". That's why this Department of Justice has taken historic new steps to go after fraudsters, including hiring more prosecutors and leveraging the power of data analytics.

Collectively, the doctors, nurses, licensed medical professionals, health care company owners and others charged are accused of submitting more than $2 billion in fraudulent billings.

Thomas Carpenter, who was medical director at Foundational Health, a Tampa area clinic, and Caridad Limberg-Gonzalez, who owned the clinic, are charged with conspiracy to commit health care fraud and wire fraud, four counts of health care fraud and three counts of making false statements.

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"It is not that we are over-regulating, but doctors and medical practitioners are more aware", he said. "Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is committed to continuing to work with our federal partners to uncover waste, fraud, and abuse in the Medicare and Medicaid systems", said Stormy Kelly, Division Chief within the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the Office of Texas Attorney General.

The U.S. Attorney's Office, through separate informations filed in U.S. District Court, and all with associated plea agreements charged Global Operations Manager JEFFREY SOUTH, District Manager ANGIE NELSON, sales representatives RODDRICK BOYKIN and DAWN WHITTEN, and biller STACEY CARDOZO. According to the DOJ, these schemes resulted in over $2 billion in fraudulent billings, and involved over 13 million illegal doses of opioids.

The charged podiatrists, Domenic Signorelli, 51, of Irvine, and Robert Joseph, 51, of Huntington Beach, along with several other unnamed co-conspirator doctors, allegedly received kickbacks for "writing" the prescriptions.

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