TIME Medicare

Strike Force Arrests 90 for $260 Million in Medicare Fraud

Wifredo Ferrer, Tyler Smith, George Piro
Wifredo Ferrer, left, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, announces the arrest of 90 individuals in a Medicare fraud sting operation on May 13, 2014 in Miami. AP

A Medicare fraud strike force has arrested 90 people, including 16 doctors along with nurses and other medical professionals in six different cities, who stand accused of issuing false medical bills for unwanted medical services

A Medicare fraud strike force has arrested 90 people for allegedly defrauding the program of $260 million, law enforcement officials said Tuesday.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation announced that agents in six different cities arrested 16 doctors along with nurses and other medical professionals who stand accused of padding medical bills with unwanted or undelivered services.

The largest batch of arrests occurred in Miami, where 50 defendants were charged with defrauding the system of $65.5 million by falsely billing home health treatments, mental health services and prescription drugs that were never dispensed, according to the FBI.

Investigators said one physician in Los Angeles charged with $23 million in fraudulent bills had ordered hundreds of power wheelchairs for able-bodied patients.

“The fraud was rampant, it was brazen and it permeated every part of the Medicare system,” Acting Assistant Attorney General David O’Neil said in a statement.

The arrest marks the seventh sting operation in the strike force’s history, which has charged almost 1,900 defendants since it was established in 2007.

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