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Wednesday
Oct132010

Largest Medicare Fraud Case Ever Brought Against One Criminal Enterprise

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Seventy-three defendants, including a number of alleged members and associates of an Armenian-American organized crime enterprise, were charged in indictments unsealed Wednesday in five judicial districts with various health care fraud-related crimes involving more than $163 million in fraudulent billing, announced Acting Deputy Attorney General Gary G. Grindler, FBI Assistant Director of the Criminal Investigative Division Kevin Perkins and Health and Human Services Inspector General Daniel R. Levinson.

In this national, multi-agency investigation, 52 people were arrested Wednesday by FBI agents in the largest Medicare fraud scheme ever perpetrated by a single criminal enterprise and charged by the Department of Justice.

The defendants are charged with engaging in numerous fraud activities, including highly-organized, multi-million dollar schemes to defraud Medicare and insurance companies by submitting fraudulent bills for medically unnecessary treatments or treatments that were never performed.  According to the indictments, the defendants allegedly stole the identities of doctors and thousands of Medicare beneficiaries and operated at least 118 different phony clinics in 25 states for the purposes of submitting Medicare reimbursements.

“The emergence of international organized crime in domestic health care fraud schemes signals a dangerous expansion that poses a serious threat to consumers as these syndicates are willing to exploit almost any program, business or individual to earn an illegal profit,” said Acting Deputy Attorney General Gary G. Grinder. “The Department of Justice is confronting this evolving threat here and abroad through a number of initiatives including a strengthened Attorney General’s Organized Crime Council and the creation of the International Organized Crime Intelligence and Operations Center (IOC-2) to ensure that we are focused and coordinated in our efforts to combat international organized crime.”

“The international organized crime enterprise known as the Mirzoyan-Terdjanian, fleeced the health care system through a wide-range of money making criminal fraud schemes.  The members and associates located throughout the United States and in Armenia, perpetrated a large-scale, nationwide Medicare scam that fraudulently billed Medicare for more than $100 million of unnecessary medical treatments using a series of phantom clinics,” said Kevin Perkins, FBI Assistant Director of the Criminal Investigative Division.  “We want to restore the confidence in the nation’s health care system and assure practitioners we will not stand by and let their identities be used for criminal gain.”  

Copyright 2010 ABC News

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