Doctors and other "Professionals" Lead the Way when Stealing from the Government

At first glance, it sounds like good news that the recent Medicare-Fraud crackdown uncovered more than $240 million in fraudulent billing and payments in nine Metropolitan areas.

The investigator in me knows there is always more, however. Sometime the “more” lays lurking beneath the surface like an iceberg. Such is the case with Medicare Fraud. $240 million sounds like a whole lot, until you realize that Medicare fraud costs the Government/tax payer $90 BILLION a year.

In an article for the Wall Street Journal, writers; Mark Schoofs, Maurice Tamman and Brent Kendall disclose some of the criminal activity and the medical “professionals” who are being charged with the crimes.

In one case, a Brooklyn physical therapist, Aleksander Kharkover, billed the Government $11.9 Million from 2005 – 2010 for services that were never performed not medically necessary. Medicare paid out $7.3 Million. Kharkover’s lawyer calls his client a “well respected doctor”. In another case a podiatrist billed the Government millions for removing toenails. Patients being interviewed admitted to only receiving foot baths. The podiatrist billed for one patient as having had 18 ingrown toenail removals.

One wonders how much of this money will be recovered. One Law Enforcement Official stated that the problem was so huge that “you can’t prosecute your way out of this problem – you have to have more effective monitoring of the money that goes out”. It’s a shame that somebody didn’t think a wee bit of monitoring on $90 BILLION a year would have been worthwhile before now.

As for prosecutions, they had better be planning on prosecuting these sleaze balls. Why should the average small-fish tax payer have to give his or her fair(?) share of taxes and these corrupt whales not be penalized for ripping off the system?