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Sessions Announces ‘Largest Health Care Fraud Takedown’ In American History

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Federal prosecutors charged hundreds of people for defrauding health care programs of more than $1 billion Thursday and illegally flooding the black market with opioids.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the offenders ripped off Medicare and Medicaid along with the health insurance program servicing U.S. veterans. The Department of Justice charged 412 people for the fraud, including nearly 300 health care providers, who were also either suspended or banned from federal health care programs over the violations, reports CNBC.

Sessions said 120 people charged in the fraud, which totaled $1.3 billion, were involved in overprescribing and diverting shipments of opioid medications to the black market.

“They seem oblivious to the disastrous consequences of their greed,” Sessions said Thursday in a statement. “Their actions not only enrich themselves, often at the expense of taxpayers, but also feed addictions and cause addictions to start.”

Sessions described the case as “the largest health care fraud takedown operation in American history.”

In one example, workers at a rehab center in Florida enticed and lured addicts with gift cards, trips to strip clubs and narcotics. This allowed the company to collect $58 million in false treatments and tests.

Drug overdoses kill one person every 11 minutes in the U.S. and are now the leading cause of accidental death for Americans under 50.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said June 6 that drug deaths in the U.S. experienced the largest increase in recorded history in 2016, claiming more than 60,000 lives. He notes early data suggests deaths from opioids and other drugs will continue to increase in 2017.

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