Health Care Fraud Unit created to investigate healthcare fraud

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Illinois has created the Health Care Fraud Unit. This team of five assistant U.S. attorneys was created to prosecute health care fraud cases of all types, including diversion of controlled substances and fraudulent billing schemes.

The announcement was made several days after two Chicago-area licensed physicians were charged as part of the largest national health care fraud enforcement takedown action led by the U.S .Department of Justice. This action ultimately accused 412 defendants of participating in fraudulent health care billing. Of these defendants, 15, including the two Chicago-area physicians, were facing federal criminal charges.

The Health Care Fraud Unit is dedicated to focusing on cases that have risen to the level of criminal culpability. This may mean that there could be a rise in the number of criminal investigations and increased executions of search warrants. This also means that there can be an increase in the number of civil investigative demands issued to companies who are suspected to be involved in fraud and abuse.

The federal government takes accusations of health care fraud and other white collar crimes very seriously. A conviction could result in a lengthy prison sentence and the requirement to pay a potentially large amount in restitution. A criminal law attorney could advocate for an accused person as soon as he or she believes that the federal government is investigating allegations of fraud. In some cases, the attorney may work with the investigators to avoid the criminal charges altogether or to determine what options the person has when it comes to mounting a defense.

Source: National Law Review, "US Attorney's Office in Chicago Announces Creation of Health Care Fraud Unit", July 21, 2017

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