(CBS News) Ninety-one people have been charged in seven cities in a series of arrests carried out by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force. The suspects are accused of participating in various fraud schemes involving more than $429 million in false billing.
According to officials at the Department of Justice, the suspects allegedly billed Medicare for treatments that were improper or unnecessary. In some cases the government was billed for treatments that were not even provided. Doctors and nurses are among those arrested.
Arrests were made in Houston, Dallas, Brooklyn, Baton Rouge, Chicago, Los Angeles and Miami. The largest crackdown occurred in South Florida where 33 people were rounded up and charged in connection with health care fraud cases totaling more than $230 million. In Texas, the president of Riverside General Hospital in Houston and his son were also charged.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius added that new provisions in President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act made it more difficult for fraud to be committed.
This fraud sweep is the latest in a series of raids conducted since 2007 by the strike force. Over the past five years 1,480 suspects have been arrested in Medicare fraud cases totaling $4.8 billion dollars.