The federal government pursues charges of Medicare fraud aggressively, and the penalties for these crimes include fines and prison time. The Medicare Fraud Strike Force casts a wide net when charging people with violations of Medicare laws, which can cause even innocent people to require a criminal defense. A recent conviction in Detroit illustrates the scope that a Medicare fraud investigation may have.

The U.S. Justice Department reports that a 42-year-old man pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud in Detroit's federal court on Aug. 29. The man and his co-defendants were accused of defrauding $13.8 million from Medicare over three years along with eight other codefendants who have also pleaded guilty.

This scheme occurred from July 2008 to Sept. 2011, according to the FBI. The defendants are accused of using home health companies to receive fraudulent Medicare payments. The Justice Department claims that Medicare beneficiaries signed forms that falsely claimed they had received health services. The beneficiaries then received kickbacks from the Medicare payments.

The primary defendant in this case is facing a $250,000 fine and up to 10 years in prison. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for Nov. 28 and will take place before a U.S. District Court judge.
It is apparent from this case that a charge of healthcare fraud can be a legal minefield for the defendant. Michigan residents who have been accused of this kind of crime will need to take swift legal action to protect their rights and minimize the consequences of a healthcare fraud charge. All defendants have a right to legal representation, regardless of the charges against them.

Source:, "Detroit-area man pleads guilty in $13.8 million Medicare scam," Khalil AlHajal, Aug. 29, 2012