Three dozen people have been charged with ordering unnecessary or fraudulent medical tests and equipment for a total of $1.2 billion. The people accused of this fraud were targeted by the Justice Department on Wednesday when it announced it would be going after these doctors, laboratory owners, and health care executives among those charged with this criminal activity. The schemers orchestrated their health care schemes across the entire country and used patient insurance to order fraudulent or unnecessary tests and equipment so they could pad their pocketbooks and increase their bottom line.

“The Department of Justice is committed to prosecuting people who abuse our health care system and exploit telemedicine technologies in fraud and bribery schemes,” Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Polite, head of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, said in a statement. “This enforcement action demonstrates that the department will do everything in its power to protect the health care systems our communities rely on from people looking to defraud them for their own personal gain.”

Those accused of fraud allegedly used telehealth services to order medical tests and more, billing Medicare and other insurance companies for the orders, according to the Justice Department. Court documents detail how these fraudulent doctors and health care professionals ordered these tests and equipment without even interacting with patients – and the tests provided little use to the patients and their primary care physicians.

In addition, the owners of various medical laboratories have been accused of providing illegal kickbacks and bribes to telehealth companies, medical professionals, doctors, and medical equipment companies. In exchange for these kickbacks, the providers and others gave the laboratory owners patient referrals, so they could all get more business for their personal gain.

In one of the cases, Jamie McNamara, the owner of multiple clinical laboratories in Missouri, created a scheme to get money from insurance companies by hiring a marketing company to get telehealth centers to call patients and offer them no-cost testing. These tests included Medicare-approved cardiovascular and genetic testing that required the advisement of a medical professional. While these tests can be useful for some patients, the ones who had these tests ordered for them found little value in the results because they did not really need the test in the first place.

McNamara has been accused of creating “shell laboratories” to submit false claims to Medicare for unnecessary tests and medical equipment. The scammer’s windfall totaled a shocking $174,000,000, and the schemer allegedly laundered his illegal profits through a “complex network” of various bank accounts and other assets like luxury vehicles, a yacht, and real estate purchases.

This Wednesday’s announcement that the Justice Department is going after people who committed $1.2 billion in medical fraud comes on the coattails of an announcement last year that the Justice Department was going after 138 people who committed telehealth schemes to the tune of $1.4 billion in losses.

What do you think about this alleged criminal activity?

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