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By Adiel Kaplan, Jay Blackman, Tom Costello and Sarah Ploss
Two dozen people, including doctors and medical equipment business owners, were charged in a worldwide health care scheme of over $ 1
Investigators uncovered the scattered plot targeting the elderly and disabled by setting them up with their backs, neck and knees, which they did not need, according to federal prosecutors.
Billed Operation Brace Yourself, the study discovered that medical brace manufacturers were supposed to pay illegal setbacks and bribes to doctors working with fraudulent telemedicine companies in exchange for Medicare patient referrals for medical unnecessary hangers.
The bad wins were then laundered through international shell companies and used to buy exotic cars, yachts a luxury property in the United States and abroad, accused prosecutors.
"The taxpayer should be upset about this," said Gary Cantrell, who oversees fraud investigations for the inspector's Secretary General for Health and Human Services. "These are losses to the Medicare program that we all fund as taxpayers."
As part of the scheme, doctors were paid to prescribe seizures for patients with little or no relation to them. The ordination often came after doctors had a brief conversation by phone or video conference with patients they had never met, accused prosecutors.
The global fraud involved call centers in the Philippines and throughout Latin America.
As a result, the personal information of hundreds of thousands of Medicare recipients across the country was compromised and could be used in other future schemes, accused prosecutors. An even larger number of patients received unwanted seizures in their homes. The unwanted products may disqualify them from receiving a hanger under Medicare if they need one in the future, prosecutors said.
White-breasted crime is not a victim-free, Sherri Lydon, US lawyer for the South Carolina district where the probe originated, said at a press conference announcing the charges. "All taxpayers will endure the rising cost of healthcare and pocket costs due to fraud on our Medicare system."
As many as 130 medical equipment companies were implicated in fraud, resulting in a total of $ 1.2 billion in losses, accused prosecutors.
The extensive study was conducted by the FBI, the IRS and 17 US law offices. Charges were brought against defendants in states including New Jersey, California, Texas and Florida.
"These defendants – ranging from business executives to medical professionals – allegedly participated in an expansive and sophisticated fraud to exploit teleme dicine technology intended for patients otherwise unable to access health care," Assistant Minister of Justice Brian Benczkowski of the Justice Department's criminal department said.