Health-Care Fraud Strike Force To Expand
By Joe Palazzolo | December 15, 2021 4:22 pm

A joint strike force targeting health-care fraud is pushing into new regions, the Justice Department said Tuesday.

The Medicare Fraud Strike Force, comprising the departments of Justice and Health and Human Services, will have a presence in Tampa, Baton Rouge and Brooklyn, the department said. The two-and-a-half-year old strike force already has teams seeded in South Florida, Los Angeles, Houston and Detroit.

From today’s news release:

The Strike Force operations in Brooklyn, Tampa and Baton Rouge are another important step of the Health Care Fraud Prevention & Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), a joint initiative announced in May 2009 between the Department of Justice and HHS to focus their joint efforts to reduce and prevent Medicare and Medicaid fraud through enhanced cooperation

Word of the expansion came as HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer, the head of the Criminal Division, announced the arrests of 30 people charged in an alleged scheme to submit more than $61 million in false Medicare claims. Indictments were unsealed in Miami, Detroit and Brooklyn. Also on hand at the news conference in Brooklyn was acting U.S. Attorney Benton Campbell of the Eastern District of New York.

More than 460 people, who collectively billed more than $1 billion to Medicare, have been indicted since the strike force began operations, according to the department. The indictments have generated more than 250 guilty pleas and 20 trial convictions, and seek court-ordered restitution in excess of $420 million.

The emphasis on Medicare fraud recoveries comes amid a debate over a major health care reform bill and health care costs.

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