A health-care crime sweep netted 114 defendants on charges related to Medicare fraud in what Attorney General Eric Holder called the largest such takedown in U.S. history, the Wall Street Journal reports. The defendants—charged in nine metropolitan areas including Los Angeles, Brooklyn, Detroit, and Miami—were allegedly involved in more than 40 mostly unrelated schemes that attempted to defraud the government of more than $240 million.
Several cases appear to involve doctors or other health-care practitioners acting alone or with few alleged co-conspirators. One of these, Brooklyn physical therapist Aleksandr Kharkover, was featured in a December Wall Street Journal article on possible financial abuse involving physical therapy, a growing area of Medicare fraud. “The fact that you can have an operation this large with cases that aren’t connected shows the extent of the problem,” said a senior law-enforcement official. Medicare fraud is “so rampant,” he said, “there’s no way in hell you can prosecute your way out of this problem, no way. The answer is not prosecution—the answer is more effective monitoring of the money that goes out.”