The Department of Justice today announced criminal charges against 21 defendants in nine federal districts across the United States for their alleged participation in various health care related fraud schemes that exploited the COVID-19 pandemic. These cases allegedly resulted in over $149 million in COVID-19-related false billings to federal programs and theft from federally-funded pandemic assistance programs. In connection with the enforcement action, the department seized over $8 million in cash and other fraud proceeds.

“Throughout the pandemic, we have seen trusted medical professionals orchestrate and carry out egregious crimes against their patients all for financial gain,” said Assistant Director Luis Quesada of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division. “These health care fraud abuses erode the integrity and trust patients have with those in the health care industry, particularly during a vulnerable and worrisome time for many individuals. The actions of these criminals are unacceptable, and the FBI, working in coordination with our law enforcement partners, will continue to investigate and pursue those who exploit the integrity of the health care industry for profit.”

In addition to the FBI, HHS-OIG, and CPI/CMS, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; U.S. Postal Service Office of the Inspector General; Department of Defense Office of Inspector General; Department of the Interior Office of the Inspector General; Department of Labor Office of the Inspector General; Food and Drug Administration Office of Criminal Investigations; Homeland Security Investigations; U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Office of the Inspector General; and other federal and local law enforcement agencies participated in the law enforcement action.

An indictment, complaint, or information is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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