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After losing $712 million, Medicare strikes back

Crime comes in many forms. We tend to think of a "criminal" as someone who burglarizes a home or shoots a gas station employee. We don't tend to think of well-respected doctors who switch a few numbers around.

Yet health care fraud - particularly Medicare and Medicaid fraud - is a serious criminal offense. It costs the federal government an astonishing amount of money each year, and for this reason, it doesn't go ignored.

A few days ago, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force conducted the largest criminal takedown in its history. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 243 individuals across the U.S. have been accused of defrauding Medicare of nearly $712 million.

These health care professionals, ranging from physicians to occupational therapists, have been charged with money laundering, violating anti-kickback statutes, aggravated identity theft and conspiracy to commit fraud.

Being Charged With Fraud Is Easier Than You Think

Are all 243 of those health care professionals actually guilty of Medicare fraud? Maybe, maybe not.

It's becoming easier and easier for even the most ethical individuals to be charged with this offense. Why? Because health care law is constantly changing, it's highly regulated and it's very complex. Writing down the wrong billing code may be an innocent mistake, not a deliberate scam.

If you suspect that you may be under investigation by Medicare or another federal agency, don't waste any time contacting an attorney. It's essential to get a lawyer on your side who has in-depth experience with these types of complex white collar crimes.

Depending on the facts of your case, he or she may be able to prove that you had no intent to defraud or that you didn't commit the alleged violation at all.

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