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Medicare Strike Force Makes Giant Roundup

(CN) - In what prosecutors call "the largest-ever federal health care fraud takedown," 111 people across the country have been charged with submitting $225 million in false Medicare claims for unnecessary services. Health care professionals were charged in Houston, Miami, Brooklyn, Los Angeles Detroit and Baton Rouge. And the Medicare Strike Force said it is expanding into Dallas and Chicago.

Defendants include health care professionals of all stripes, including company owners and executives, doctors and nurses.

"With this takedown, we have identified and shut down large-scale fraud schemes operating throughout the country," U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. said at a Thursday news conference.

In one case in Brooklyn, a confidential source conducted an undercover investigation of Dr. Leonard Langman in 2009. Langman allegedly billed the patient's medical benefit programs for a nerve exam that never happened and sent a disability letter to the patient's employer, though the patient had no health problems.

"The data showed that Dr. Langman had submitted treatment bills to the worker's compensation system indicating an abnormally long recovery time for his patients," according to the complaint. "The data also showed that Dr. Langman's billing [was] inconsistent with documents from the medical files obtained from his office."

In Los Angeles, two directors of companies that sold medical equipment are accused of taking Medicare reimbursements for power wheelchairs that were medically unnecessary.

Camillus Ehigie and Evans Oniha, co-owners of Caravan Medical Supplies and Prosperity Home Health Services, have submitted $6.4 million in Medicare claims since 2007, according to the indictment.

Since the Medicare Strike Force began in 2007, nearly 1,000 people have been charged with falsely billing Medicare for a total of $2.3 billion.


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