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Justice Department Announces Nationwide Arrests for COVID-19 Fraud, including Two Locals

Federal authorities on Thursday declared criminal indictments against 21 defendants in eight states for their alleged participation in “health-related fraud schemes that exploited the COVID-19 epidemic.”

In announcing the charges, which include a man and woman in Santa Cruz County and three others in California, the Department of Justice said the cases led to more than $ 149 million in false COVID-19 charges for federal and federal theft-funded epidemic assistance programs. In connection with the enforcement operation, the department seized over $ 8 million in cash and other fraudulent revenue.

Prosecutors said this week’s announcement included “some of the largest and most widespread epidemic frauds identified to date.”

“Today’s announcement … demonstrates our continued determination to defend the integrity of government efforts to combat the COVID 19 epidemic,” said U.S. Attorney Stephanie M. Hinds of the Northern District of California. “We will pursue anyone who seeks to profit from this health crisis by committing crimes that endanger the health and well-being of the public at a time when trust in our public health system is critical. Every day, the multi-agency partnership created to combat epidemic fraud obliges fraudsters “.

Assistant Attorney General, Kenneth A. Polit, a junior from the Justice Department’s criminal department said: “Today’s enforcement action strengthens our commitment to use all available tools to hold accountable medical professionals, corporate executives and others who have put greed over treatment during an unprecedented public health emergency.”

The announcement also includes charges against manufacturers and distributors of counterfeit vaccine registration cards for COVID-19, who, according to the allegations, deliberately sought to interfere with the Ministry of Health and Human Services and disease control and prevention centers in their efforts to manage the national immunization program. And provide accurate proof of vaccination.

For example, in the Northern District of California, three defendants were charged with a scheme to sell homeoprophylaxis vaccines to COVID-19 and forge COVID-19 vaccine registration cards to show that customers received government-approved vaccines. One defendant allegedly abused her position as director of a pharmacy in a Northern California hospital to obtain genuine parts numbers for the Moderna vaccine that were then used to forge vaccine registration cards for COVID-19, according to Thursday’s announcement.

Jamie Jansen, 40, of Santa Cruz, has been accused of making false health-related statements in connection with an alleged plan to offer counterfeit drugs to COVID-19 and to distribute counterfeit vaccine registration cards to COVID-19.

Jansen owned an integrative health and wellness center in Santa Cruz, California. According to the allegations, Jansen acted as a distributor for Julie Mazi, a naturopathic doctor who offered and sold products called “homeopropyl vaccines” that she claimed would provide a complete cure for COVID-19, and provided CDC COVID-19 customers with fraud. Vaccine registration cards to make a lie show that customers have received COVID-19 vaccines with FDA approval.

According to the suspicion, Jansen bought and repackaged Mazi’s homeoprophilic vaccine pills and counterfeit vaccine cards CDC COVID-19, and supplied them to about 170 recipients.

Jason Nielsen, 53, of Scotts Valley, has been charged with securities fraud in connection with an alleged scheme to defraud investors and potential investors in Arrayit, a publicly traded medical technology company.

Nielsen was a major shareholder of Arrayit, deceiving Arrayit investors by passing false information and materially misleading the existence of a real supply and demand for Arrayit securities and the nature of his personal financial holding in Arrayit securities, all with the aim of getting other investors to cheat. An array of securities thus raising the stock price. At the same time, Nielsen secretly sold his previously purchased shares at an artificially inflated price.

Another defendant in the Northern District of California pleaded guilty to the plan in April 2022. U.S. Attorney Hinds described additional plots that were prosecuted in the Northern District of California. video.

Prosecutors said the enforcement action announced this week is based on the success of the COVID-19 enforcement operation in May 2021 and includes the prosecution of various COVID-19 health care fraud programs.

For example, a number of cases reported today include defendants who allegedly offered COVID-19 tests to get patients to provide their personally identifiable information and a saliva or blood sample. According to the suspect, the defendants then used the information and samples to file false claims and fraud to Medicare for unrelated, medically unnecessary and much more expensive tests or services.

In one such program in the Central District of California, two owners of a clinical lab were charged with fraud of health services, compensation and money laundering that included a false charge of over $ 214 million for lab tests, more than $ 125 million of which was alleged. Involves fraud claims during the epidemic for COVID-19 tests and respiratory pathogen tests.

“Throughout the plague we have seen trusted medical professionals orchestrate and commit serious crimes against their patients and all for financial gain,” said Assistant Director Lewis Helmet of the FBI’s Criminal Investigation Department. “These health scams are undermining the integrity and trust that patients have with those in the healthcare industry, especially during a vulnerable and worrying time for many people. The actions of these criminals are unacceptable, and the FBI, in coordination with our law enforcement partners, will continue to investigate Health for profit. “

In another type of COVID-19 health care fraud scheme announced today, defendants allegedly took advantage of policies established by the Medical and Medicaid Centers (CMS) to allow increased access to treatment during the COVID-19 epidemic. For example, in the Southern District of Florida, one medical professional was charged with fraud of health services, network fraud and preparations, which allegedly included a charge for simulated telemedicine sessions that did not occur and consent to order unnecessary genetic testing in exchange for access to telephone health patients. At the end of last year, one defendant was sentenced to 82 months in prison for this plan.

Today’s announcement includes charges against two other defendants for programs targeted at the Provider Assistance Fund (PRF). The PRF is part of the Corona Virus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES), a federal law enacted in March 2020 that provided financial assistance to medical providers to provide the necessary medical care to Americans suffering from COVID-19. In all, 10 defendants were charged with crimes related to the unfair exploitation of PRF funds intended for frontline medical providers and three India.

Moreover, the Center for Integrity of the Program, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CPI / CMS) announced today separately that it has taken 28 additional administrative actions against providers for their alleged involvement in fraud, waste and abuse programs related to the provision of COVID-19 treatment, As well as programs that take advantage of the public health emergency.

Justice Department Announces Nationwide Arrests for COVID-19 Fraud, including Two Locals Source link Justice Department Announces Nationwide Arrests for COVID-19 Fraud, including Two Locals

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