The Justice Department has managed to recover some $5.6 billion lost to fraud over the 2011 fiscal year, officials will announce today. Civil fraud accounted for some $3.4 billion, with the rest attributable to criminal fraud, insiders tell the Washington Post. Much of the money was recovered by so-called Medicare Strike Fraud Forces, which track down millions in fraudulent claims. It's yet another step forward in the crackdown on fraud: Such recoveries have climbed 167% since 2008.
Some $15 million came from a settlement with Texas firm American Grocers, which purchased expired food and resold it to the military. The administration's announcement is timed to coincide with a meeting today on cutting wasteful spending, chaired by Joe Biden, at which Cabinet secretaries will discuss how they're reducing costs in their departments. Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is set to announce a new effort to push insurance companies not to cover suspicious claims by "doctor shoppers"—patients who hop from doctor to doctor to get prescriptions for painkillers like OxyContin, which they can then abuse or deal illegally. (Read more White House stories.)