Doctor Who Gave Away Free Hams Charged with Health Fraud

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions addresses a news conference to announce a nation-wide health care fraud and opioid enforcement action at the Justice Department in Washington

The fraud not only resulted in more than 2 billion USA dollars in losses, but also was blamed in many cases for deepening the opioid crisis across the United States, said the department.

The Department of Justice on Thursday announced charges against 601 people allegedly responsible for $2 billion in health care fraud, including 65 doctors, nurses and other licensed medical professionals. They include 76 doctors, 23 pharmacists, 19 nurses, and other medical workers.

Sessions went on to say 162 people were charged, specifically in regard to opioid distribution.

"Some of our most trusted medical professionals look at their patients - vulnerable people suffering from addiction - and they see dollar signs", U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said.

U.S. Attorney Town said, "The defendants in the north Alabama case helped their employer, Global Compounding Pharmacy, defraud millions from Medicare, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama and other insurance systems by pushing unnecessary medications and billing for reimbursement".

Numerous criminal cases announced on Thursday involved charges against medical professionals who authorities said had contributed to the country's opioid epidemic by participating in the unlawful distribution of prescription painkillers. These are despicable crimes. The takedown involves more than 600 defendants - from doctors and pharmacists, down to billing clerks.

Thirty state Medicaid Fraud Control Units also participated in the arrests.

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In numerous cases patient recruiters, beneficiaries and others involved in the schemes were paid cash kickbacks in return for supplying beneficiary information to providers, allowing the providers to submit fraudulent bills to Medicare, according to court documents.

He also assigned a dozen prosecutors to focus exclusively on investigating and prosecuting opioid-related healthcare fraud in districts in need.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has recently attempted to cap the vast majority of opioid doses at 90 morphine milligram equivalents, but an increasingly vocal advocacy network of chronic pain patients forced the agency to preserve much of the flexibility in its own rules.

The indictment charges Irena Shut, 41, an attorney who lives in Hidden Hills, with paying kickbacks to two podiatrists to authorize prescriptions written on pre-printed prescription pads created to maximize insurance payments, regardless of the medical need for an expensive compounded formulary for each "patient".

Charges against Dr. Bingston Crosby, a chiropractor, include health care fraud, money laundering and mail fraud, authorities said.

The informations charge each of the defendants with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, mail fraud and health care fraud.

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