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UDPATE: 3 doctors among 18 in LA charged with $65 million in health care fraud (PDF)

Update 1:17 p.m.: Local U.S. Attorney André Birotte Jr. now says 18 people in Los Angeles have been indicted for submitting $65 million in fraudulent bills to Medicare.

The defendants include 3 doctors and a physical therapist; they are among 91 people charged nationwide.

Four people affiliated with Alpha Ambulance, Inc. are accused of submitting more than $49 million in false claims to Medicare between 2008 and 2012, acoording to the indictment.

The L.A. cases combined are believed to be the highest amount of false Medicare billing uncovered in a single investigation.

You can read the full indictment below:

Medicare Indictment

 

Update 10:25 a.m: U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is speaking about the arrests in Washington, D.C.

Holder said the defendants are accused of submitting $430 million in false billings to the federal government. The total includes over $230 million in home health care fraud, more than $100 million in mental health care fraud, and approximately $49 million in ambulance transportation fraud, he said.

The formal charges include health care fraud, conspiracy to commit health care fraud, wire fraud, violations of the anti-kickback statutes, aggravated identity theft, and money laundering. 

The alleged fraudulent activity included billing for treatments and services that were either medically unnecessary or never performed, Holder said.

The defendants' names have not been made public.

PREVIOUSLY: Three doctors are among 16 defendants charged in Los Angeles for their roles in schemes to defraud the federal government of about $54 million, according to the L.A. Times.

Officials are expected to release more details later today.

Nationwide, 91 people have been accused of participating in fraud schemes involving approximately $430 million in false billing to the federal government, the L.A. Times reported. The list includes doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals.

The arrests were the result of an investigation by a strike force, which is a multi-agency team of federal, state and local investigators designed to combat Medicare fraud through the use of data analysis techniques and an increased focus on community policing.

Since its inception in March 2007, the strike force has led to  more than 1,000 defendants being charged with falsely billing Medicare more than $2.9 billion.

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