Health care fraud prosecutions have shot up this year, thanks to an Obama administration crackdown, according to new figures from a Syracuse University research team. Already the feds have prosecuted 903 people for fraud this year, which is 24% more than they nabbed in the entirety of 2010, and puts them on pace for an 85% jump for the year. “This was a fairly dramatic number of prosecutions,” one researcher tells USA Today.
The Medicare Fraud Task Force has also secured 24 convictions this year, compared to 23 in all of last year. “That’s just a stunning number when you see it in the first eight months,” said Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer. The strides come in part thanks to the Democrats’ health care reform law, which created a new agency to hunt down fraud and expanded an existing one; the feds recovered some $4 billion last year because of their efforts. The FBI, meanwhile, says it’s shifted focus to criminal enterprises and major health care providers defrauding the government. (Read more health care stories.)