In a massive bust covering nine U.S. cities, more than 100 medical professionals have been arrested and charged with fraud for illegally billing Medicare more than $225 million.
The 111 suspects nabbed by federal authorities on Thursday were the latest tally to be added to the growing list of busts to have occurred over the past two years—amounting to the most arrests in history.
Among those arrested were doctors, nurses and physical therapists—hailing from Baton Rouge, Brooklyn, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami and Tampa. All are accused of contributing to the widespread fraudulent activity that reportedly costs the federal government up to $90 billion each year.
The suspects are accused of lying about practices and procedures they billed Medicare for. Additionally, many have billed for procedures that were unnecessary, but nevertheless costly. In some cases, the procedures in question appear to have either never been performed, or are so far-fetched that they can’t possibly be true—such as a Brooklyn proctologist’s claim that he performed 10 hemorrhoid removals on one patient.
The charges also extended to the writing of fake prescriptions and charging for expensive services such as private nurses, aides and physical therapy—which were never provided.
Authorities stated they will continue investigation suspicious claims and many more arrests are expected in the future. Reducing the amount of money the government doles out to these fraudulent cases is vital to retain enough money for the massive overhaul of the health care system proposed by President Obama.