They include 76 doctors, 23 pharmacists, 19 nurses, and other medical workers.
U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town announced the charges against employees of Northside Pharmacy, based in Haleyville and doing business as Global Compounding Pharmacy, as part of a nationwide health care fraud takedown.
Sessions made the announcement along with Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar, as well as representatives from the Drug Enforcement Agency, FBI and other federal agencies. That figure includes 587 providers who were allegedly involved in "opioid diversion and abuse".
The charges also targeted schemes in which the defendants allegedly submitted claims to Medicare, Medicaid, TRICARE - a military healthcare program - and private insurance companies for medically unnecessary prescription drugs and other treatments that were never provided in some cases.
On Thursday, the U.S Justice Department (DOJ) announced the arrests of 601 people on charges of healthcare fraud amounting to over $2 billion in losses from government healthcare programs and insurers.
Though numerous cases also involved a variety of schemes to fraudulently bill government healthcare programs, officials sought in the latest crackdown to emphasize their efforts to combat the nation's opioid epidemic.
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More than 42,000 Americans died from opioid overdoses in 2016, according to the latest numbers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A list of states where the alleged fraud and crimes happened is available here.
"It takes a special kind of person to prey on the sick and vulnerable as happened in many of these health care fraud schemes", said Deputy Chief of IRS Criminal Investigation Eric Hylton. "This year's Takedown Day is a significant accomplishment for the American people, and every public servant involved should be proud of their work". In the past fiscal year, the Department of Justice, including the Civil Division, has collectively won or negotiated over $2 billion in judgements and settlements related to matters alleging health care fraud. They are accused of submitting false claims to Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare (a program that offers insurance coverage to USA military members, veterans and their families), and private insurance companies.
The charged podiatrists, Domenic Signorelli, 51, of Irvine, and Robert Joseph, 51, of Huntington Beach, along with several other unnamed co-conspirator doctors, allegedly received kickbacks for "writing" the prescriptions.
In numerous cases patient recruiters, beneficiaries and others involved in the schemes were paid cash kickbacks in return for supplying beneficiary information to providers, allowing the providers to submit fraudulent bills to Medicare, according to court documents.