Some state and federal criminal task forces – both singly and together – target drug crimes. Others focus on fraud-linked offenses.
And, increasingly, many investigative teams concentrate on both, as evidenced by news stories that feature criminal probes into things like prescription drug fraud.
One such story surfaced just last week when, on Thursday, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions stepped up to microphones to discuss what has been described as “the nation’s largest ever health care fraud takedown.”
An in-depth Washington Post article spotlighting the criminal sweep and noting essential details reports that a stunning 600-plus individuals were criminally charged in the probe. Notably, 165 of those persons were doctors.
The cited offenses were multiple and varied. Defendants will now proceed to trial in courtrooms across the country to fight allegations ranging from false billings to taxpayer-funded programs (read Medicare, Medicaid and the military’s TRICARE platform) to criminal kickbacks. Additional charges will include bogus prescription writing and filling, making counterfeit opioids, establishing fake pharmacies and myriad other criminal counts.
The kickbacks were especially emphasized in the Post piece. Reportedly, the months’-long probe uncovered instances of patient recruiters and beneficiaries receiving cash for patient information, which was then used as the basis for soliciting billions of dollars in false payments. Kickbacks have also been a cited problem when they are used to entice some physicians to become lax in their prescribing of opioids.
Sessions terms the nation’s opioid crisis as “the deadliest drug epidemic in the history of the country.” Its alleged magnitude will virtually ensure the continuation of a sustained and powerful investigatory effort by law enforcers that will ensnare high numbers of criminal suspects.