Fraud Against Medicare Beneficiaries Likely Due to Vulnerability
Unfortunately in times of crisis, there are predators looking for opportunities to benefit. The Department of Justice announced this week that it has taken its first action in federal court to combat fraud related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The enforcement action filed today in Austin against operators of a fraudulent website “coronavirusmedicalkit.com”. Information published on the website claimed to offer consumers access to World Health Organization (WHO) vaccine kits in exchange for a shipping charge of $4.95, which consumers would pay by entering their credit card information on the website. In fact, there are currently no legitimate COVID-19 vaccines and the WHO is not distributing any such vaccine.
In coordination with the Department of Justice, Attorney General William Barr has directed U.S. Attorneys to prioritize the investigation and prosecution of Coronavirus fraud schemes. Undoubtedly, this will include schemes to defraud Medicare and Medicaid and other federal aid programs asserted under the False Claims Act. This could include medical providers obtaining patient information for COVID-19 testing and then using that information to fraudulently bill for other tests and procedures; or providers submitting claims for COVID-19 tests for patients who lacked any symptoms.
“Along with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners, we continue to stand ready to enforce the laws of the United States and to address the public safety needs of our community”, said U.S. Attorney Peter G. Strasser. “Unfortunately, during times of crisis, criminals continue their efforts to victimize the public. However, we are ready for them.”
For the most up-to-date information on COVID-19, consumers may visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and WHO websites.
Contact us if you become aware of schemes to defraud Medicare or Medicaid.