Tuesday, October 13, 2009

AP: Mafia, violent criminals turn to Medicare fraud

A Medicare scammer could easily net at least $25,000 a day while risking a relatively modest 10 years in prison if convicted on a single count. A cocaine dealer could take weeks to make that amount while risking up to life in prison.

"Building a Medicare fraud scam is far safer than dealing in crack or dealing in stolen cars, and it's far more lucrative," said Lewis Morris, lead attorney at the Department of Health and Human Services' inspector general's office.

It's unclear how many violent crimes are tied to Medicare fraud because most of them are carried out by someone within the hoax who attacks another person taking part in the crime.

One Southern California criminal task force has arrested about 50 suspects for Medicare fraud in the last three years.