AG Sessions Announces 601 Charged Amid Largest Opioid Crackdown

01 July, 2018, 09:32 | Author: Lillian Steele
  • U.S. charges 601 people in health care fraud opioid takedown

"Some Houston-area medical professionals, including doctors, nurses and pharmacological representatives, have chosen to break the law and place their greed before those whom they are charged to heal".

"In many cases, doctors, nurses and pharmacists take advantage of people suffering from drug addiction in order to line their pockets", Sessions stated.

More than 600 medical professionals across the United States now face charges in connection with the "largest (ever) health care fraud crackdown", the USA attorney's office said Thursday.

Among those charged, 162 defendants, including 76 doctors, were charged with contributing to the opioid crisis by unlawfully prescribing opioids and other narcotics.

Among those caught in the crackdown were 124 defendants in DOJ's South Florida district for false claims totaling more than $337 million. The treatment facility's CEO, Paul R. Materia, 43, and patient brokers Joseph Lubowitz, 29, and Christopher Fuller, 33, were charged with illegally recruiting patients, paying kickbacks and defrauding healthcare programs by billing for urine testing and substance abuse treatment that were medically unnecessary.

The arrests came in dozens of unrelated prosecutions the Justice Department announced together as part of an annual healthcare fraud takedown.

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"These are despicable crimes", Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement. 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. 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.

Two other defendants are accused of operating three "false-front" medical clinics that resulted in $4.7 million in false medical billings submitted to three insurance companies and $258,000 paid in false billings, the prosecutor said.

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.

Meanwhile, Coleman predicted that he'll have "much more to report" in the efforts to uproot health care fraud.

"Healthcare fraud touches every corner of the United States and not only costs taxpayers money, but also can have deadly consequences", said FBI Deputy Director Bowdich.

Dr. Daniel Capen, 68, of Manhattan Beach, an orthopedic surgeon who agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy and illegal kickback charges of $142 million.

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