Fraud is one of the most common white collar crimes. Professionals who engage in fraud often think of it as a victimless crime. They may assume that insurance will cover any losses or that they are stealing from a corporation, not from people.
The federal government is quick to disabuse people of those misconceptions when it discovers cases of health care fraud. After all, taxpayers are often the ones left covering the bill when providers defraud health care insurance programs.
Those who participate in questionable practices, like a Medicare billing scheme where a practice unbundles services, could find themselves facing serious criminal charges in federal court. Regardless of what state the activity takes place in, it is likely that anyone facing health care fraud allegations will wind up in federal court as a result of those charges.
Any level of involvement could be dangerous
Perhaps you have only worked with the company for a few years, and you realized something was fishy right away. However, since the person who hired you and the person training you both told you that that was just the way the company did business, you followed along.
Then, in the wake of enforcement action, you found yourself facing criminal charges as a result of your compliance. While you may hope that only your boss will face serious repercussions, the truth is that anyone who plays a role in a health care fraud scenario could wind up charged with serious federal offenses.
People ranging from physicians to billing specialists can face criminal consequences for various billing schemes. Depending on your role in the alleged scheme, you could face fines or jail time, possibly a combination of both. In some circumstances, you could lose your professional licensing as well.
Many options exist for those facing federal criminal charges
Too many people believe that there is no way to successfully fight the federal government. They might plead guilty to charges, even if they believe themselves to be innocent, just to get the process over with and move on with their lives. That approach is a major mistake that can cost people their freedom or their future.
While it may feel intimidating to defend against federal criminal charges, that doesn't mean it is impossible. It may be possible to arrange a plea deal if you testify against the individuals who planned or orchestrated the billing fraud. You may be able to submit evidence that shows that you were not actually aware of fraud at your job. In some cases, the evidence may exonerate you from any involvement whatsoever.
Sitting down to speak with an attorney who has experience defending individuals against federal white collar crime charges in California can help you decide what steps you should take.