Federal authorities use a variety of tools in their health care fraud enforcement. For instance, law enforcement will sometimes use tips from the public when investigating or pursuing an individual suspected of fraud crimes. Last Thursday, the federal government released a list that they hope will encourage tips in connection to certain health care fraud cases.
The list consists of the ten most wanted health care fraud fugitives in the United States. This list has an accompanying website which contains photos of the fraud suspects. Government officials hope that the list will lead to tips from the public which will help law enforcement catch the suspects in question.
This demonstrates how law enforcement will sometimes use public tips in health care fraud cases. These tips can pertain to a variety of things, including where to find a suspected health care fraud perpetrator. Sometimes, government authorities will even take steps to try to generate these public tips, as appears to be the case here.
Individuals from Florida are featured prominently on this most wanted list. In fact, three brothers from Miami are at the top of the list. The three are accused of making millions of dollars worth of fraudulent Medicare claims regarding HIV drugs. The three were formally charged in connection to these allegations in 2008. Police believe that the three brothers fled to Cuba.
This list could have the effect of increasing federal health care fraud enforcement in the Miami area. Federal authorities have already placed a fraud enforcement team in this region because it is perceived as a health care fraud "hot spot." Having individuals from Miami on the top of the most wanted list could add to this perception, which could lead to the federal government putting even more energy into fraud enforcement in this region.
Source: The Miami Herald, "Feds release list of top 10 health care fugitives," (Article no longer available online) Kelli Kennedy, 3 Feb 2011