The Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that a Las Vegas woman recently pleads guilty to falsely representing to Medicare that she owned a Los Angeles-area durable medical equipment (DME) company that was owned and operated by her brother. This company was used by her brother and others to submit more than $3.5 million in false claims to Medicare. The case is being investigated by HHS-OIG.
The case was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force. The Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations are part of the Health Care Fraud Prevention & Enforcement Action Team (HEAT). A joint initiative was announced in May 2009 between the Department of Justice and HHS to focus their efforts to prevent and deter fraud and enforce current anti-fraud laws around the country.
Since their inception in March 2007, Strike Force operations in nine districts have charged 1,000 defendants. These defendants collectively have falsely billed the Medicare program for more than $2.3 billion. In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.