U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced on Feb. 17, 2011 that the federal government made what he termed the "largest federal health care fraud takedown in our nation's history."

Doctors, nurses, and health care company owners and executives are alleged to have committed Medicare fraud totaling over $225 million in improper billings. The strike covered nine cities including Miami, Brooklyn, Houston, Los Angeles, Detroit, and Chicago. The sweep was conducted by the Medicare Fraud Task Force, a joint enforcement initiative involving the U.S. Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human services.

More than 700 law enforcement officers are reported to have been involved in the arrests, including federal, state, and local investigators. Defendants are being charged with a number of health care fraud crimes, including false claims, anti-kickback violations, identity theft, and money laundering. The defendants are alleged to have engaged in schemes to provide medically unnecessary care or to bill for services that were not provided. The enforcement initiative appears to have focused on ancillary service providers such as home health agencies, durable medical equipment companies, and physical/occupational therapy providers. These types of service providers have been the subject of increasing regulatory scrutiny and enforcement initiatives over the past several years. This sweep demonstrates the government's commitment to enforcement efforts. As part of the health reform law, an additional $95 million was dedicated to fraud enforcement through the federal Fraud and Abuse Control Program in fiscal year 2011.

For the DOJ press release visit: http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2011/February/11-ag-202.html