Gangs across the U.S. are arming themselves with powerful weapons to bilk taxpayers out of billions of dollars through Medicare fraud. What used to be a mostly non-violent, white collar crime has turned potentially deadly. Federal agents who once combed through paperwork are now firing rounds at the shooting range to prepare for extreme dangers, reports ABC News. “Our folks are out there engaging a criminal element that is dangerous,” said Jay Hodes, an agent with the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General.
“It’s so easy to steal from Medicare and Medicaid, it attracts a violent criminal element so they can cash in on their schemes,” said Tim Menke, chief of investigations for the HHS Office of the Inspector General. Schemes include setting up phony medical equipment companies which rip off taxpayers by billing for services never rendered and equipment never actually delivered. Many criminals are armed to the teeth to enforce their authority. Undercover surveillance footage shows Armenian gangsters in Los Angeles as they confront an accomplice suspected of skimming their profits in a $30 million Medicare fraud scheme. The gang members threatened to kill the man.