Accurate accounts of the services performed by health care workers are important when claiming costs for Medicare. Cases of Medicare fraud typically involve workers falsifying records to show services that were never actually performed. Any indication of these federal crimes often leads to extensive investigations into hospitals or specific medical professionals.

Detroit residents may be interested to know that the United States Justice Department charged 91 people on Oct. 4 in connection with an alleged Medicare fraud scheme. United States Attorney General Eric Holder stated that the scheme involved health care workers in seven cities.

The Justice Department alleges that these defendants fraudulently received a total of about $430 million through this scheme. This includes $230 million for home health care, over $100 million for mental health care and approximately $49 million for ambulance transportation.

Holder alleged that one doctor in this case wrote 30,000 prescriptions for 2,000 patients resulting in $100 million in fraudulent Medicare payments. The FBI also arrested the president of Houston's Riverside General Hospital and five employees of the hospital, including the president's son. The hospital released a statement saying that it will be retaining counsel in the matter.

Law enforcement agencies often pursue cases of Medicare fraud aggressively, which can lead to massive arrests. Furthermore, such serious charges can result in lengthy prison sentences that can change people's lives forever. However, it's possible that some people may end up being unknowingly connected to a fraud scheme. Defendants in these cases must understand their legal rights in order to protect their freedom.

Source: WDIV, "Medicare fraud case: 91 professionals arrested," Chris Isidore, Oct. 4, 2012