In addition to the 93 U.S. Attorney’s Offices around the country that investigate and prosecute health care fraud, the Fraud Section of the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division based in Washington D.C. has approximately 76 federal prosecutors devoted to such prosecutions. This DOJ Unit targets complex health care fraud involving illegal prescription, distribution and diversion of opioids; telemedicine fraud; and fraud related to COVID, including counterfeit vaccine cards.

The just released year-end report for 2021 reveals the total cases prosecuted and significant cases of note. The unit charged 202 individuals involved in $1.75 billion in alleged losses, with a significant number of guilty pleas, as well as convictions at trial.

Just in September 2021 alone, DOJ announced charges against 138 defendants, including 42 medical professionals, in connection with a national health care fraud enforcement action.

The Unit is assisted by a data analytics team that identifies suspicious health care billing patterns and likely geographic hotspots for fraud and illegal opioid distribution. In 2021, this data analytics team made 385 proactive investigative referrals to various federal law enforcement agencies.

In addition to the illegal prescription and distribution of opioids, the Unit has aggressively targeted laboratories, telemedicine doctors and nurse practitioners, marketers and pharmacies engaging in illegal kickback schemes. These schemes are designed to induce medical professionals to order medically unnecessary compound medicines, such as pain creams, scar creams, vitamins and migraine medication; or orders for unnecessary laboratory tests for genetic cancer screenings. The payments include money based on a per prescription basis, whether in the form of direct payments, payments to the physician’s spouse, or disguised as lease payments or alleged ownership interest payments for a physician-owned lab.

Stahl Criminal Defense Attorneys actively and aggressively defend clients being investigated and prosecuted for health care fraud. Over the past five years we have defended numerous physicians, pharmacists, marketers and lab owners accused of health care fraud. To contact Mr. Stahl, call 908.301.9001 for the NJ office and 212.755.3300 for the NYC office, or email Mr. Stahl at rstahl@stahlesq.com