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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes has launched an all-out assault on medical professionals who scam federal health programs out of billions of dollars a year.
On Monday, Hynes announced the creation of the Healthcare Fraud Division in collaboration with the Department of Justice, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the city Human Resources Administration .
In the first of its kind collaboration, local prosecutors and city agencies have teamed up with the U.S. Attorney’s office and federal authorities to go after Medicare and Medicaid cheats.
Offending doctors, pharmacists and patients bilk the health care programs of $60 billion a year nationwide, according to officials.
“This new tool, this new program I think I’m very, very confident given already the number of cases that have been referred by the federal task force is going to be very successful,” Hynes told 1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks. ”We are very, very confident that that collaboration will yield significant prosecutions and return of millions of dollars.”
Hynes kicked off the program by announcing the indictment of Dr. Naveed Ahmad of Brooklyn, who is accused of cheating Medicaid and Medicare of at least $500,000 and perhaps millions more, according to prosecutors.
Ahmad is accused of prescribing HIV medication without determining whether the patients need them. The patients then sold the drugs on the black market to diagnosed HIV patients, prosecutors said. He is also accused of billing for services he did not provide.
Ahmad pleaded not guilty last week to fraud charges.
“I think what it’s going to show at the end of the day is that this kind of collaboration can yield a return of not millions but billions of dollars if it’s replicated across the country,” Hynes added.
Hynes also thanked New York’s senior senator who has fought against Medicare and Medicaid fraud.
“Prosecution of Medicaid and Medicare fraud is a new game thanks to Senator Charles Schumer, the inspiration behind this extraordinary team,” said Hynes. “For years I have wanted to go after crooked providers but lacked the resources to handle such cumbersome investigations, so when Senator Schumer suggested combining my efforts with those of the federal authorities, I was glad for the opportunity.”
Schumer said Monday that he would work to secure funds to allow the continued prosecution of health care fraudsters.
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