A major health care corporation settled with the U.S. Department of Justice Oct. 3 for scamming Medicaid in illegal immigrant birth funding.
Tenet Healthcare Corporation “will pay over $513 million to resolve criminal charges and civil claims relating to a scheme to defraud the United States and to pay kickbacks in exchange for patient referrals.” Tenet bribed Clinica de Mama, a small women’s healthcare company, to refer clients for providing pregnancy-related health services to illegal immigrants, according to CIS.
When children were then born to illegal immigrant mothers in Tenet hospitals, the firm made sure that Clinica de Mama was rewarded for its references with taxpayer money via Medicaid. Tenet hid its bribes in the form of interpreter services, which can be written off to Medicaid.
The only problem for Tenet was that there were no actual interpreters. Instead, Tenet doled out just over $1 million worth of bribes to Clinica de Mama via monthly payments ranging between $15,000 and $20,000 per month over five years.
The elaborate taxpayer-funded ruse came apart when Ralph D. Williams, formerly the chief financial officer for many Tenet hospitals, was fired for pointing out to his superiors that there was a scam. As a result of his blowing the whistle on his former employers, Williams made just over $84 million in a civil settlement.
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