DOJ charges 18 in Covid healthcare fraud including doctors

The Department of Justice has charged 18 individuals, including doctors, with Covid-19 healthcare fraud schemes in the largest coordinated law enforcement action targeting fraud schemes exploiting the pandemic. The charges span nine federal judicial districts and involve hundreds of millions of dollars from false billings and theft from federally-funded programs. One California doctor, Anthony Hao Dinh, allegedly submitted around $230 million in fraudulent claims to the federal Health Resources and Services Administration's Covid-19 Uninsured Program. Dinh, who practices in Orange County, was the country's second-highest biller to that program, according to the DOJ, and some of the claims submitted were for services not medically necessary. Dinh also billed the program for the treatment of patients who were insured and allegedly used more than $100 million of fraud proceeds for high-risk options trading. In addition to healthcare fraud, some of the cases announced on Thursday involved the manufacture and distribution of fake Covid vaccine record cards, and the alleged exploitation of Medicare's coverage of over-the-counter Covid-19 tests. The DOJ said it had seized more than $16 million in cash in connection with the alleged schemes. The charges come months after the department created three strike force teams to enhance its efforts to combat and prevent Covid-related fraud. Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a press release that the Justice Department will not tolerate those who exploited the pandemic for personal gain and stole taxpayer dollars, and that the department is using every available resource to combat and prevent Covid-related fraud and safeguard the integrity of taxpayer-funded programs.


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