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Medicare fraud as a white-collar crime

On Behalf of | Oct 14, 2021 | White Collar Crimes |

Knowingly generating unnecessary business expenses is plain and simple fraud, a major white-collar crime. You complicate matters if you use a government agency like Medicare as a vessel. Michigan law sees this transgression as preying on the disabled, elderly or any party that trusts medical caregivers.

A closer look at Medicare

Medicare is a program sponsored on the federal level. Individuals 65 and older, young people with disabilities, and patients with conditions like end-stage renal disease depend on it to sustain their healthcare needs.

When fraud’s discovered and linked to Medicare, you’re talking about a profession expected to have stringent ethics stealing from a program trying to help the elderly and severely disabled.

Healthcare fraud

These white-collar crimes are not limited to doctors and their practices. They encompass nursing homes, pharmacists, home health caregivers, nurses and PTs. You find fraud in companies that manufacture walkers, wheelchairs, or medical equipment and supplies. Perpetrators come from all walks of healthcare, overbilling or fabricating expenses.

Common forms of Medicare fraud

While Medicare fraud was always a serious matter, it wasn’t until 2007 and the creation of the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT) that the federal government had a team for investigating and prosecuting schemes involving programs like Medicare.

Anyone found connected to white-collar crimes gets taken into custody. HEAT undertakes extensive tracking of medical fraud in nine major cities. One of them is Detroit.

What charges come with Medicare fraud?

Getting arrested for Medicare fraud can include charges for conspiracy, money laundering, prescription fraud, mail and wire fraud, bribery and more.

The government will attempt to recoup funds seized during the crimes, using federal civil forfeiture laws. Defendants are monetarily penalized for abusing a federal program with false claims. Each claim in these white-collar crimes can lead to fines of five to ten thousand dollars as well as damage amounts the government proves.