US charging 412 in health fraud schemes worth $1.3 billion

Attorney General Jeff Session, center, flanked by Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, left, and Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, speaks during a news conference about opioid addiction, Thursday, July 13, 2017, at the Justice Department in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. prosecutors have charged more than 400 people with taking part in health care fraud and opioid scams that totaled $1.3 billion in false billing.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the charges Thursday. Officials say those charged include more than 120 people involved in prescribing and distributing narcotics. In prepared remarks, Sessions calls it the “largest health care fraud takedown operation in American history.”

Among those charged are six Michigan doctors accused of a scheme to prescribe unnecessary opioids. A Florida rehab facility is alleged to have recruited addicts with gift cards and visits to strip clubs, leading to $58 million in false treatments and tests.

Sessions says nearly 300 health care providers are being suspended or banned from participating in federal health care programs.

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