The Trump administration has a clear intent on stopping drug-related crimes. Attorney General Jeff Sessions just announced a nationwide crackdown on over 400 individuals, including about 50 doctors, who are being accused of defrauding government health programs of $1.3 billion.
About 30% of the people charged are accused of crimes related to opioid substances. According to the prosecutors´ allegations, the defendants billed Medicaid and Medicare for drugs that were never purchased, for treatments and tests never administered, and exchanged prescriptions for cash.
During a press conference in Washington, acting FBI director Andrew McCabe commented that some of the charged doctors had written more prescriptions for controlled drugs than entire hospitals over a the same period of time.
According to Sessions, the massive crackdown, which has targeted individuals in over 20 states, “highlights the enormity of the fraud challenge we face.” Including numerous arrests, the operation falls into the objectives of the Medicare fraud task force, which was been active for a decade.
In one of the most shocking cases, prosecutors are after Florida rehab center owner Eric Snyder, who offerred kickbacks, strip club and casino trips, and plane tickets in order to recruit addicts. The man in question even traveled out of the state to recruit patients at AA meetings and hot spots for crack-addicts.
After he “persuaded” people to come to his facility for treatment and tests, Snyder fraudulently billed insurers over $50 million for the center´s services.
Defendants in Connecticut, Indiana, Iowa, and Texas are facing allegations that they engaged in fraudulent schemes to distribute opioids and other medically unnecessary drugs, which were later billed to government health programs.
As America faces a nationwide opioid addiction crisis, with 91 Americans dying daily of opioid-related overdose, the targeted health professionals appear to be contributing to this pressing issue by making the drugs easily available to addicts. “Thanks to these efforts, fewer criminals will be able to exploit our nation’s opioid crisis for their own gain,” Tom Price, HHS Secretary commented.
According to acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, prescribing drugs to opioid addicts escalates their addiction and is “a death sentence, plain and simple.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions concluded that law enforcement would “use every tool to stop criminals from exploiting the vulnerable people and stealing our hard-earned tax dollars... We are sending a clear message to criminals across this country: We will find you. We will bring you to justice. And you will pay a very high price for what you have done.”
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