AOH :: ISNQ7030.HTM

Massive Healthcare Fraud Ring Stole Physician, Patient Identities




Massive Healthcare Fraud Ring Stole Physician, Patient Identities
Massive Healthcare Fraud Ring Stole Physician, Patient Identities



http://www.darkreading.com/database_security/security/attacks/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=227800082 

By Kelly Jackson Higgins
DarkReading
Oct 14, 2010 

The threat of medical identity theft came to light yesterday with the 
FBI's announcement it had busted an organized crime gang that stole the 
identities of doctors and thousands of Medicare patients in order to 
operate phony clinics that bilked Medicare and insurance companies of 
more than $165 million in fraudulent billing.

Authorities have charged 73 people, including members of an alleged 
Armenian-American organized crime organization, with multiple healthcare 
fraud crimes. The FBI has arrested 52 of these suspects for executing 
what it says is the largest Medicare fraud case the DOJ has prosecuted 
to date. The defendants operated close to 120 fake clinics in 25 states 
and were indicted by authorities in California, Georgia, New Mexico, New 
York, and Ohio. "The emergence of international organized crime in 
domestic health care fraud schemes signals a dangerous expansion that 
poses a serious threat to consumers as these syndicates are willing to 
exploit almost any program, business or individual to earn an illegal 
profit," said Acting Deputy Attorney General Gary G. Grinder, in a 
statement. "The Department of Justice is confronting this evolving 
threat here and abroad through a number of initiatives including a 
strengthened Attorney General's Organized Crime Council and the creation 
of the International Organized Crime Intelligence and Operations Center 
(IOC-2) to ensure that we are focused and coordinated in our efforts to 
combat international organized crime."

Healthcare identity theft has become a major worry, especially with the 
movement toward electronic medical records. Some 1.5 million Americans 
have been victims of medical identity theft, according to data from the 
Ponemon Institute.

Former employees at Johns Hopkins Hospital were indicted earlier this 
month for an ID theft scam that used patient records to get $600,000 
worth of credit. And meanwhile, recent Theft Resource Center data shows 
that healthcare organizations have disclosed 119 breaches so far this 
year -- more than three times the 39 breaches suffered by the financial 
services industry.

[...]


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