FBI targets health-care swindlers


...VTC WASHINGTON -- Estimating that health care fraud is costing billions of dollars, the Department of Justice is doubling the number of FBI agents investigating such crimes and is setting up special prosecution units in 12 cities, including Baltimore.

Department officials will tell Attorney General William P. Barr in a report this week that health-care violations have grown from those committed by single practitioners to "organized criminal activity" affecting the $738 billion industry.

The report says that the newly assigned FBI agents will use "special proactive projects," presumably sting operations, "to put health care cheats in prison and forfeit their ill-gotten gains."

Besides Baltimore, the cities where the problem is considered "most acute" are Los Angeles; Charlotte, N.C.; Chicago; Dallas; Detroit; Las Vegas, Nev.; Miami; New York; Newark, N.J.; New Orleans and Philadelphia. Health care fraud units are being established in the U.S. attorneys' offices in those cities. Ten more prosecutors have been assigned to the expanded program.

For fiscal 1993, the administration is asking for 24 additional assistant U.S. attorneys to work on health care fraud.

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