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DOJ Charges 21 People In National $150 Million COVID Fraud Scheme

DOJ Charges 21 People In National $150 Million COVID Fraud Scheme

The Justice Department announced Wednesday that twenty-one people have been charged over the past nine days as part of a nationwide investigation that rooted out individuals exploiting the COVID19 pandemic through health care fraud schemes.

The cases resulted in about $150 million in alleged false billings and theft from federal pandemic assistance programs. The DOJ seized over $8 million in cash and other fraud proceeds. The Justice Department named a chief prosecutor for pandemic fraud last month, Kevin Chambers, following through on President Joe Biden’s State of the Union promise to go after criminals who stole billions in relief money.

Some defendants are accused of offering COVID-19 testing to get people to provide their personal identifying information and a saliva or blood sample. That information and the samples were then allegedly used to submit fraudulent claims to Medicare for unnecessary, far more expensive tests or services. Other defendants are accused of exploiting telehealth policies put into place during the pandemic, misappropriating money intended for frontline medical providers, and manufacturing and distributing fake vaccination record cards.

In Colorado, federal agents went through a man’s trash to uncover an alleged scheme to produce and sell fake vaccination record cards. In Maryland and New York, owners of medical clinics are accused of using information from people who sought COVID testing at drive-thru sites to submit fraudulent claims for lengthy office visits that never occurred.

See Also

The DOJ led a similar nationwide enforcement push nearly a year ago that involved 14 defendants and a total of roughly $143 million in false billings. Numerous federal and local law enforcement agencies participated in both enforcement actions.

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