While white collar crimes may not be as well-publicized as the violent crimes that often dominate the nightly news, they are equally serious in the eyes of the law. One of the most prevelant types of white collar crimes is healthcare fraud, much of which is criminalized under federal law. Healthcare fraud is rampant, and costs the United States some $80 billion a year, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)1. The penalties associated with defrauding the government can be extremely serious and may even include imprisonment. As a result, it is important that anyone accused of healthcare fraud discuss their options with an experienced Chicago criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
What is healthcare fraud?
Healthcare fraud can take a variety of forms, but generally involves defrauding a federal government health program in order to realize some sort of financial gain. The two largest government healthcare programs are Medicare and Medicaid, which exist to assist older people and low income individuals meet their healthcare costs. Among the most common types of healthcare fraud include:
- Billing for services not provided
- Billing for one service when another was performed
- Billing for a non-covered service as covered
- Kickbacks for referrals
- Providing generic medications and billing for non-generic medications
- Performing unnecessary procedures
- Billing for equipment that was never purchased
Generally, the parties that engage in healthcare fraud are healthcare providers, but can also include insurance companies and private individuals. Regardless of your role in the matter, if you are accused of healthcare fraud, you should retain an attorney immediately.
What are the penalties associated with healthcare fraud?
Healthcare fraud is criminalized by a number of statutes, including the federal Anti-Kickback law, the Stark Law, and the False Claims Act2. The potential legal consequences of violating these and other laws include:
- The loss of a professional license
- Exclusion from participating in federal programs
A healthcare fraud charge and conviction has the potential to have a significant impact on your life and may even end your career. Fortunately, there are often many ways an attorney can help mitigate the potential penalties you may be facing.
Contact a Chicago criminal defense lawyer today for a free consultation
Anyone facing allegations of healthcare fraud should retain legal counsel as soon as possible. To schedule a free consultation with Chicago attorney Nenye Uche, call our office today at (888) 251-4428.