The Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services announced the largest health care fraud takedown operation in American history, with charges against more than 400 people.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions revealed in a press conference on Thursday that the list includes 412 defendants, including 56 doctors, which resulted in defrauding taxpayers of about $1.3 billion.
“Too many trusted medical professionals like doctors, nurses, and pharmacists have chosen to violate their oaths and put greed ahead of their patients,” Sessions said.
Among those numbers, 120 have been charged with opioid-related crimes, making this also the largest opioid-related fraud takedown in American history.
“Their actions not only enrich themselves often at the expense of taxpayers but also feed addictions and cause addictions to start. The consequences are real: emergency rooms, jail cells, futures lost, and graveyards.”
One of the defendants allegedly billed Medicare for $164 million in false and fraudulent claims for prescribing patients with unnecessary opioids, some of which resulted in street sales.
Another illegal Houston clinic allegedly gave out prescriptions for cash and one doctor gave out 12,000 opioid prescriptions for over 2 million illegal painkiller doses.
“These defendants have been charged and they will face justice,” Sessions said.
He added that due to this discovery, 295 heath care providers are being suspended or banned from participation in federal heath programs.
“We are sending a clear message to criminals across the country: we will find you,” Sessions threatened. “We will bring you to justice. And, you will pay a very high price for what you have done.”