Task force to target healthcare fraud in New Jersey, Philadelphia

Law enforcement agencies are teaming up to fight healthcare fraud and illegal opioid prescriptions in the Newark, N.J., and Philadelphia areas, according to the Justice Department.

The U.S. Attorney's Office and the Justice Department are forming the Newark/Philadelphia Regional Medicare Fraud Strike Force, along with law enforcement partners at the FBI, HHS and the Drug Enforcement Administration. Ten U.S. cities, including Miami, Los Angeles, Detroit, Houston and New Orleans, have used similar task forces, and the new initiative will expand those efforts.

"The devastation the opioid epidemic is inflicting on communities across the country and here in the Mid-Atlantic region is staggering — and healthcare fraud has played a role in feeding that epidemic," Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski of the Justice Department's Criminal Division said in a prepared statement, adding that the task forces preventing costly fraud and reducing deaths from prescription opioids are one of the "most important and effective means for containing these threats to the American people." 

The Newark/Philadelphia Regional Medicare Fraud Strike Force will involve prosecutors and data analysts. It will work with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and IRS Criminal Investigation, State Medicaid Fraud Control Units, and other federal law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute cases involving fraud, waste and abuse within federal healthcare programs, according to the Justice Department. It will also focus on cases involving illegal prescribing and distribution of opioids and other narcotics. 


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