12 Are Charged in Medicare Fraud Schemes Said to Cost $95 Million

Published: 2011-12-14 14:06:11
Author: KIRK SEMPLE | New York Times | November 2, 2011

Federal agents swarmed several medical clinics and homes in New York City on Wednesday, arresting 10 people on charges of running Medicare fraud schemes that bilked the government out of $95 million, federal officials said.

Another defendant charged in one of the schemes surrendered later to the authorities and a 12th defendant was still at large on Wednesday afternoon, the officials said.

The defendants included three medical doctors, a doctor of osteopathy and a chiropractor, the United States Department of Justice said in a news release.

The cases are part of an aggressive campaign by the Justice Department and the Department of Health and Human Services to combat the escalating problem of health care fraud. In 2007, a special team was formed to combat fraud in Medicare, the federal program that helps provide health care for older people.

Since its creation, the team has charged more than 1,130 defendants across the country with falsely billing the Medicare program in schemes said to total more than $2.9 billion.

In the case announced on Wednesday, six of the defendants operated out of two medical clinics in Flushing, Queens, and were accused of submitting about $11.7 million in false claims to the Medicare program for physical therapy, electric-stimulation treatments and other services, the officials said.

Those six defendants — Ho Yon Kim, 85, and Hoi Yat Kam, 57, both of Flushing; Peter Lu, 36, and John Knox, 54, both of the Bronx; and Elaine Kim, 50, and Gilbert Kim, 59, both of Bayside, N.Y. — provided their clients with a variety of spa treatments, including massages and facials, but instead billed Medicare for physical therapy and other services that were never provided, the officials said.

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