The Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations in Houston, announced in May 2009, have gotten off to a blazing start, with thirty-two physicians, company owners and executives being indicted for schemes to submit more than $16 million in false Medicare claims. In connection with the indictments, arrests were made in Houston, New York, Boston and Louisiana. Local news cameras followed Strike Force agents as they executed 1 of 12 search warrants on healthcare businesses and homes across the Houston area. The accused are charged with scheming to submit claims to Medicare for durable medical equipment supplies, such as power wheelchairs and scooters, "arthritis kits" which were comprised of orthotic braces and heat pads, enteral nutrition products and feeding supply kits that allegedly were medically unnecessary or were never provided. Each of the three Houston Strike Force teams is led by a federal prosecutor from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Houston or the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and includes agents from the FBI; Offices of Inspector General from HHS, Office of Personnel Management and the Railroad Retirement Board; Texas Attorney General’s
Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations in Houston are a part of the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), an interagency effort aimed at detecting and preventing fraud in Medicare and Medicaid through enhanced cooperation. Since the inception of Strike Force operations in March 2007, with phase one in South Florida, phase two in Los Angeles in March 2008 and phase three in Detroit in June 2009, the Strike Force has obtained indictments of more than 293 individuals and organizations that collectively have billed the Medicare program for more than $674 million. Among the Medicare Fraud Strike Force's stated accomplishments are 131 guilty pleas, 21 guilty verdicts and 122 defendants sentenced to prison, sentences ranging from four months to 30 years, with an average length of sentence of four years.
While our attorneys can assist as regulatory counsel for criminal cases, they also are available to assist providers