At times in the past decade, health care fraud seemed to be the top priority of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). Although nationally it’s now been eclipsed by corporate accountability, the DOJ has focused on health care fraud and abuse in two of the nation’s largest federal prosecutors’ offices: Los Angeles and Houston. The Central District of California and the Southern District of Texas — supposedly fraud and abuse hot spots — are setting up dedicated Medicare Fraud Task Forces based on a model that enjoyed great success in the Southern District of Florida.

The Miami Strike Force was publicly announced on May 9, 2007, after 28 defendants were arrested by FBI and agents of the Inspector General of Health and Human Services (HHS-OIG). Through Sept. 30, 2007, the task force’s operations resulted in 130 defendants indicted, over 100 convictions obtained, and 130 defendants awaiting trial — all in Dade County, FL. See www.usdoj.gov/opa/pr/2008/May/08-crm-399.html.

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