Eight arrested in Miami in $22 million Medicare fraud scam

MIAMI — FBI agents arrested eight Miami-Dade residents at their homes early Friday on charges of fraudulently billing Medicare for $22 million by charging for nurses to treat mostly homebound diabetic patients — many of whom didn't have the disease or didn't receive the services.

Agents also raided the suspects' two Miami-Dade businesses, ABC Home Health Care Inc. and Florida Home Health Care Providers Inc., while prosecutors froze their bank accounts as part of the first crackdown on home health care offenders in a decade.

During the past year, the Justice Department, U.S. attorney's office in Miami and Medicare have been zeroing in on the county's home health care industry. Dozens of agencies have been suspected of overbilling the government program millions of dollars for nursing and aide services that are not necessary or not provided. Authorities say in many instances, cash kickbacks to patients play an integral part in the alleged scams.

Last year, Medicare suspended the billing privileges of 10 home healthcare agencies that had charged more than $100 million in suspicious services to treat homebound diabetic patients, including false claims for nurses' shooting their insulin twice a day.

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