That includes 124 people in South Florida. In many cases, doctors, nurses, and pharmacists take advantage of people suffering from drug addiction in order to line their pockets.
Already, Sessions said, enforcement has resulted in lower billing levels in some government health programs, with billings for Medicare Part A and Part B - which cover inpatient care and many physician-prescribed drugs, respectively - dropping by 20 percent in districts with fraud strike forces.
The nationwide takedown included charges against 165 doctors, nurses and other licensed medical professionals alleging that they were involved in schemes involving more than $2 billion in false billings.
Federal prosecutors in Los Angeles have charged almost three dozen physicians, pharmacists and others alleged to have tried to bilk insurers out of $660 million in fraudulent health care bills.
This announcement appears to reflect both an ongoing commitment by the DOJ to prosecute health care fraud and opioid abuse cases, and that the emphasis by HHS on administratively excluding providers has become a part of the enforcement landscape over the past year.
Officials said health care fraud is not only about the monetary damages, which saw some of those charged receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars of fraudulent proceeds, but the crackdown is also about public safety.
The indictment charges Irena Shut, 41, an attorney who lives in Hidden Hills, with paying kickbacks to two podiatrists to authorize prescriptions written on pre-printed prescription pads created to maximize insurance payments, regardless of the medical need for an expensive compounded formulary for each "patient".
"This is a statistic that we're not really proud of", said U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida Benjamin G. Greenberg.
United States v. Lacey Staveley: Lacey Staveley, also a nurse, was charged with one count of acquiring a controlled substance by misrepresentation, fraud, deception, and subterfuge, and three counts of false statements relating to health care matters.
Charges against Dr. Bingston Crosby, a chiropractor, include health care fraud, money laundering and mail fraud, authorities said.
"These defendants, motivated by pure greed, helped conduct a complicated scheme to obtain unnecessary, high-priced medications, purely to gain the insurance reimbursement", said Birmingham FBI Field Office Special Agent in Charge Johnnie Sharp Jr. According to the DOJ, these schemes resulted in over $2 billion in fraudulent billings, and involved over 13 million illegal doses of opioids.
A complaint, information, or indictment is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.