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?

Trusted employees caught stealing from employers

The attached article from the Wall Street Journal on employee theft in the workplace is a good reminder that often those who are least suspected of theft are using that to their advantage.

This in itself is nothing new, although some of you who are operating your own security companies may very well come across clients who do not yet realize that this does occur across the board.

Unfortunately, the smaller companies experience the greatest losses. Ironically, they are the least well equipped to take a loss and continue in business – depending on the size of the loss/losses.

Keep in mind that a rise in employee theft could very well be a by-product of this poor economy. The attached article quotes a victim as saying she did not bother doing a background check. That should always be step number 1. A con artist can dress up in a suit and say the right things to get hired. Unfortunately that method often works.

Clients should be careful about how they handle a suspected in-house thief. Tolerating it and hoping that they stop, is not a solution. It might sound silly, but there are employers out there who suspect an employee and have heard rumors for years, but they prefer not to believe it.

The article speaks of the Police conducting an undercover investigation over a $1200 theft. In my experience, it is rare for the Police to get involved in a theft of this amount. Most often, the employer will have to hire a Private Investigation firm and have an undercover investigator conduct the investigation.

Once the evidence has been obtained, it will be up to the employer/business owner if they wish to pursue the matter by reporting the results to the Police or if they use the evidence to get rid of the culprit. As long as a professional investigation has been conducted by a legally registered firm and P.I., the Police can proceed with a prosecution.

Either way, a message has been sent out to the other employees that internal theft will not be tolerated.