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Organized Crime Targets Medicare/Aid

From CNN:

In this Wednesday, July 29, 2009 file photo, federal agents raid a medical supply store in Houston.

Organized crime’s new target: Medicare and Medicaid

By Allan Chernoff, Sr. Correspondent and Sheila Steffen, Sr. Producer

October 22, 2009

Experienced in running drug, prostitution and gambling rings, crime groups of various ethnicities and nationalities are learning it’s safer and potentially more profitable to file fraudulent claims with the federal Medicare program and state-run Medicaid plans.

"They’re hitting us and hitting us hard," said Timothy Menke, head of investigations for the Office of Inspector General at the Department of Health and Human Services. "Organized crime involvement in health care fraud is widespread."

Los Angeles is among the hot spots for health care fraud, where Russian, Armenian and Nigerian gangs have been caught by federal agents.

Crime boss Konstantin Grigoryan, a former Soviet army colonel, pleaded guilty to taking $20-million from Medicare; Karapet "Doc" Khacheryan, boss of a Eurasian crime gang, was recently convicted with five lieutenants of stealing doctor identities in a $2-million scam, and last Thursday two Nigerian members of an organized crime ring, Christopher Iruke and his wife, Connie Ikpoh, were charged with bilking Medicare of $6-million dollars by fraudulently billing the government for electric wheelchairs and other expensive medical equipment

Defrauding government-run health care programs involves stealing two types of identities: those of doctors, who bill for services, and patients, whose beneficiary numbers entitle them to medical care and necessary equipment. Criminals are expert at collecting both.

"That information is very, very valuable to these crooks. And the doctor may work at one clinic but he won’t know about the 2nd and 3rd clinic that they’ve already set up using his identification," said Glenn Ferry, special agent in charge of the Los Angeles Region for the Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General. "They are definitely well-organized, well-schooled on how to commit Medicare fraud." …

Jimmy Rodgers of San Bernadino tells CNN he went three times-a-week to a clinic, receiving $100-a-visit, but little medical care.

"This is just like carte blanche," said Rodgers, holding his red, white and blue Medicare card. "Matter of fact, better than carte blanche. Carte blanche has limitations on it."

The clinics, Rogers concedes, were clearly fronts for collecting beneficiary data. "They, were no doctors. They were just somebody who had their hand out," said Rodgers, who later cooperated with federal investigators. "And they just ripping the system off and using me as a means to rip the system off." …

The Inspector General’s office of the Department of Health and Human Services estimates it is on track to recover about $4-billion dollars this year from breaking up health care fraud schemes perpetrated by all types of criminals, from organized rings to corrupt doctors.

That amount, though, is only about 5% of annual health care fraud in the United States, according to the National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association. Because government health programs operate on the honor system, law enforcement officials say it’s easy for organized crime rings and average criminals to cash in at the taxpayer’s expense.

Of course with the advent of Obama-Care organized crime will be getting profit from both ends, the supplier and the (fraudulent) consumer.

Unless one believes the SEIU is not an organized crime operation.

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, October 22nd, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

6 Responses to “Organized Crime Targets Medicare/Aid”

  1. Right of the People says:

    Isn’t Organized Crime the new name for the DNC?

  2. TwilightZoned says:

    I believe Dems would or even have given out doctor and patient names for a percentage.

    National health care will be like shooting ducks in a barrel for organized crime since everyone will have to be on it. Is this considered redistribution? (sarcasm to the max)

  3. proreason says:

    Are they talking about the Mafia or the Obamy Administration?

  4. Liberals Demise says:

    Friends of Barry hard at work for your tax dollar.
    Free enterprise ………. Obama style!

  5. Tater Salad says:

    What a joke! This fraud has been going on for so long it is the “norm” now. What a joke the Obama administration is. The world is laughing at us about now.

    • proreason says:

      I think it’s entirely possible that Medicare fraud is allowed to continue because it is an effective from of redistribution.

      Think about it. A handful of highly publicized 20 year prison sentences would stop it in its tracks. (at least, it would stop the non organized-crime portion of it.)

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