Medicare Fraud Strike Force Expands Operations into Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Tampa, Florida; and Brooklyn, New York
|U.S. Attorney’s Office December 15, 2009|
BATON ROUGE, LA—United States Attorney David R. Dugas commented today on the announcement by Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius of the deployment of Medicare Fraud Strike Force teams to Baton Rouge, Tampa, and Brooklyn.
U.S. Attorney Dugas said: “We are pleased to be one of three U.S. Attorney’s Offices selected to host a new Medicare Fraud Strike Force team. Strike Forces in Miami, Los Angeles, Detroit, and Houston have enjoyed remarkable success. My office looks forward to joining the front lines of this nationwide effort to combat Medicare Fraud. We are fully committed to this effort and to the aggressive and effective prosecution of Medicare Fraud.”
“With a new HEAT Strike Force team in Baton Rouge, we markedly enhance the government’s ability to investigate and bring to justice those who would commit health care fraud in Louisiana,” said Mike Fields, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, Dallas Regional Office, which oversees Baton Rouge Field Office operations.
The Strike Force operations in Brooklyn, Tampa, and Baton Rouge are another important step of the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), a joint initiative announced in May 2009 between the Department of Justice and HHS, to focus their joint efforts to reduce and prevent Medicare and Medicaid fraud through enhanced cooperation.
Since the inception of Strike Force operations in March 2007—Miami (Phase One), Los Angeles (Phase Two), Detroit (Phase Three), Houston (Phase Four), and Brooklyn (Phase Five)—the Strike Force has obtained indictments of more than 460 individuals and organizations that collectively have falsely billed the Medicare program for more than one billion dollars. In addition, HHS’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.
Each of the Strike Force teams is led by a federal prosecutor from the respective U.S. Attorneys’ Office or the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section. Each team has an agent from the HHS-OIG, FBI, and the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office Medicaid Fraud Division.
To learn more about the HEAT team, go to: www.hhs.gov/stopmedicarefraud.