June 30, 2022

Volume XII, Number 181

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DOJ Announces $150 Million COVID-19 Health Care Fraud Takedown Under Nationwide Coordinated Enforcement Action

On April 20, 2022, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced, in Press Release No. 22-403, the nationwide coordinated law enforcement action to combat health-care-related COVID-19 fraud. Specifically, the DOJ revealed criminal charges – including health care fraud, illegal kickbacks, money laundering, wire fraud, theft of government property, making false statements, and aggravated identity theft – against 21 defendants in multi-state federal districts courts. These cases assert allegations (see summary of criminal charges) resulting in nearly $150 million in COVID-19-related false billings to federal programs and theft from federally funded pandemic assistance programs.

The DOJ’s enforcement action targets individuals including medical professionals, office managers, distributers, pharmacy directors, corporate executives, and owners of laboratories and wellness centers. Notably, owners and operators in the laboratory space were indicted with conspiracy to commit health care fraud, conspiracy to pay and payment of illegal kickbacks and bribes to marketers who obtained specimens and test orders, false statements to Medicare, and money laundering through shell companies.

This enforcement action is the result of investigative efforts governed by the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force, established by the attorney general on May 17, 2021, to marshal the resources of the DOJ in partnership with varied governmental agencies to prevent pandemic-related fraud. The assistant attorney general criminal chief stated that this enforcement action “reinforces our commitment to using all available tools to hold accountable medical professionals, corporate executives, and others who have placed greed above care during an unprecedented public health emergency.”

Since the creation of the Task Force, this enforcement action is considered the first and largest coordinated takedown in DOJ history. Thus, it may be a prelude to additional actions to address health care-related COVID-19 fraud during the pandemic.

©2022 Greenberg Traurig, LLP. All rights reserved. National Law Review, Volume XII, Number 112
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About this Author

Jessica Natali criminal defense attorney Greenberg Traurig Law Firm
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Jessica Natali is a white-collar criminal defense attorney and former Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. She has deep experience both prosecuting and defending a wide range of criminal cases, particularly health care fraud and narcotics cases involving doctors, pharmacists, and health care professionals. Jessica’s work has also included cases related to mail fraud, wire fraud, mortgage fraud, tax fraud, and money laundering, as well as assorted violent crime matters.

Jessica has advised and worked closely with a variety of federal and local...

215-988-7824
 Charles C. Dunham, IV Shareholder Houston Health Care & FDA Practice Life Sciences & Medical Technology Regulatory & Compliance Corporate
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Charles Dunham represents health care providers and other health-related entities in regulatory compliance, corporate formation and governance, business transactions and acquisitions, and commercial arrangements. He also advises private-equity firms and venture capitalists on investment in the health care industry and health regulatory due diligence reviews of target acquisitions and negotiated transaction documents.

713-374-3555
Carolyn Fitzhugh McNiven Criminal Government Enforcement Lawyer Greenberg Traurig Law Firm
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Clients bring their most serious government enforcement problems to Carolyn McNiven because she is a strong client advocate, whether the matter is criminal, civil or both. Carolyn’s understanding of government decision-making is grounded in her long experience as a federal criminal prosecutor in Chicago, where Carolyn handled the most complex and sensitive white collar investigations including several high-profile prosecutions of sitting state and federal officials and corporate executives. She established and led Chicago’s health-care fraud task force, and has a...

415-655-1270
Adesola K. Adegbesan Practice Group Attorney Greenberg Traurig, LLP
Practice Group Attorney

Adesola K. Adegbesan is a member of the Litigation Practice in Greenberg Traurig's Philadelphia office. She concentrates her practice on defending corporate clients, with a focus on products liability cases that involve personal injury.

215-988-7800
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