21 charged in $149M COVID-19 fraud schemes: Justice Department

The Justice Department criminally charged 21 people, including physicians, a director of pharmacy and executives of medical clinics, for their alleged participation in scams that exploited COVID-19 and resulted in millions of dollars of fraudulent billings, according to an April 20 news release.

The scams allegedly took place across nine federal districts in the U.S., resulting in over $149 million in false billings and theft from federally funded pandemic assistance programs, according to the Justice Department. 

The Justice Department alleges that the defendants engaged in various healthcare fraud schemes, including one in which the owners of medical clinics in Massachusetts and New York obtained information from patients seeking COVID-19 testing at drive-thru sites and then submitted fraudulent claims for lengthy office visits that didn't occur. 

In another reported scheme, the Justice Department accuses a medical professional in Florida of billing for telemedicine encounters that did not occur and ordering unnecessary genetic testing in exchange for access to telehealth patients. 

The Justice Department also accused a director of pharmacy at a Northern California hospital of misusing her position to obtain real lot numbers of the Moderna vaccine that were allegedly used to falsify COVID-19 vaccination records. 

The fraud takedown, announced April 20, builds on the Justice Department's May 2021 enforcement action that accused 14 defendants of engaging in COVID-19 healthcare fraud schemes. 

Read more here.

 

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