Florida physician allegedly bilked $26M from insurers to fund political ambition

Federal prosecutors claim a Florida physician who had ambitions to become the president of Ghana took $26 million from Medicare, Medicaid and other insurers for phony services, according to ABC News.

Moses D. deGraft-Johnson, MD, was charged this month with conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud and more than 50 counts of healthcare fraud. Prosecutors allege he submitted false claims to insurers for surgeries he did not perform and for unnecessary procedures, according to The New York Times.

In court documents, prosecutors provided several examples of Dr. deGraft-Johnson's alleged fraud. In one case, he claimed to have done 14 procedures during a seven-hour period. Prosecutors said the procedures would have taken roughly 28 hours, according to The New York Times. In another example, Dr. deGraft-Johnson allegedly claimed to have performed 13 atherectomies on patients in Florida when he was traveling abroad.

As a result of the alleged fraud scheme, insurers paid Dr. deGraft-Johnson $26.6 million between September 2015 and February 2020. Prosecutors claim Dr. deGraft-Johnson told officials he was "hard at working using the proceeds of fraud in the United States to establish an empire in a foreign country," and that his long-term goal was to be the president of Ghana, according to ABC News.

Dr. de-Graft-Johnson, who owned and operated the Heart and Vascular Institute of North Florida in Tallahassee, pleaded not guilty on Feb. 13.

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