A fake drug rehab in Palm Beach recruited addicts with gift cards, strip-club visits and even drugs, federal officials said Thursday, July 13, enabling the company to bill for more than $58 million in false treatments and tests.
It’s a scenario often repeated in Southern California, which was part of a massive crackdown on health-care fraud that netted hundreds of arrests across the nation Thursday, including charges against 115 doctors, nurses and licensed medical professionals, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Officials said it was the largest-ever health care fraud enforcement action by a Medicare Fraud Strike Force and involved the arrests of more than 400 people for alleged false billings totaling some $1.3 billion.
More than 120 of them were charged for prescribing and distributing opioids and other dangerous narcotics.
The names of all those arrested weren’t immediately available, and it did not appear that California was a primary focus of the action, despite recurring reports of fraudulent practices in Southern California’s large addiction-treatment industry.
In California, 17 people were charged with scheming to defraud Medicare of $147 million; and two of them were indicted for alleged involvement in a $41.5 million scheme targeting Medicare and a private insurer, the DOJ said.
The scheme involved submitting fraudulent claims – and receiving payments for prescription drugs – that were never filled by pharmacies or given to patients.