U.S. Attorney Ron Machen

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More than 20 people were arrested today for stealing money from D.C.’s Medicaid program—-the largest health care fraud takedown in D.C. history, U.S. Attorney for D.C. Ron Machen announced today, along with officials from the FBI andthe  Department of Health and Human Services.

The arrests follow a multiyear investigation by local and federal law enforcement agencies uncovering separate fraud, kickback, and false-billing schemes swindling money from the Medicaid program. The people arrested were all involved in four Medicaid home health-care agencies and one case-management organization.

Thirteen of the defendants were charged with first degree fraud in the D.C. Superior Court and another 12 were indicted in D.C. District Court.

The types of Medicaid fraud the suspects engaged in varied. One woman, according to federal indictment documents, owned three home care agencies in D.C. and Maryland and, despite being banned from participating in federal health care programs, lied about her past in applications and ultimately received $75 million from the D.C. program since July 2007.

Three people were charged in a federal indictment for a scheme that allegedly defrauded D.C. Medicaid out of more than $54,000 by recruiting people to sign up for personal care and other services that they never received. These people received kickbacks for signing up—-one of the people that signed up just so happened to be an undercover law enforcement agent.

“The next person that you have recruited into your illegal scheme may be a federal undercover agent,”  Machen said at a press conference today at the U.S. attorney’s office.

Another woman is accused of selling counterfeit certificates that would help people become personal care aides, in turn making them eligible for Medicaid reimbursement.

“This investigation has revealed that Medicaid fraud in the District of Columbia is at epidemic levels,” Machen said in a release.

 Photo by Darrow Montgomery