Federal Health Care Fraud – 18 U.S.C. § 1347
When it comes to the federal government and the millions of dollars in benefits they give across the country, they are very protective if they can determine that someone is doing something fraudulent related to those healthcare funds.
I have defended many healthcare clients charged with healthcare fraud under 18 U.S.C. 1347 at the federal level. I can tell you right now that the government is cracking down more and more. They are cracking down so harshly on healthcare fraud at the federal level because of the millions of dollars at stake.
Over the years, the government has paid so much money in healthcare, legitimately and fraudulently, that it's a huge source of lost income for them. In Los Angeles County, for example, I recently was at one of their headquarters meeting with some FBI agents related to a healthcare fraud case.
They have taken over a whole section of a building to be prepared to prosecute federal healthcare fraud cases. They have the resources to be able to challenge anybody – to surveil them, to investigate them, and to charge them if necessary.
Our attorneys have handled thousands of cases involving fraud. Healthcare fraud is one of the many, and we have the confidence and experience to help you if you face healthcare fraud charges. Healthcare Fraud is a crime and can be committed by either the provider or the consumer.
To be charged with the crime of healthcare fraud, the prosecutor must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that you (as a provider or consumer) intentionally submitted or caused a third party to submit false or misleading information that would be relied on in determining the amount of health care benefits payable.
Some ways you, as a provider, may be charged with health care fraud are: billing for services not performed; giving a patient a fake diagnosis to justify tests, surgeries, and procedures that are in actuality not necessary; misrepresenting surgeries performed; billing the patient more than the co-pay amount for services already paid for under the benefit plan.
As a consumer, you may be charged with health care fraud by filing claims for services and medications not received, using someone else's insurance, and forging/altering bills or receipts.
Due to the increased amount of health care fraud in the United States, Congress has made it a federal criminal offense, and if you are found guilty of health care fraud, you may face up to ten years in prison and excessive financial penalties.
Defenses to Healthcare Fraud Cases at the Federal Level
The best defense is that you're not the person who stole funds because someone receives a federal government benefit. If that benefit is received unlawfully, then the federal government will come with the total weight of its investigative power and prosecutorial power.
Over the past twenty-five years, I've defended healthcare fraud-related cases, know what it takes to win a case, and know what it takes to negotiate the best possible resolution for a client.
When it comes to defense in a healthcare fraud case, the reason will be contingent upon the facts, what evidence the government has against you, and what you can bring to bear defense-wise.
Sometimes, your version of events in a healthcare fraud case has not been gotten across to the prosecutors, who don't realize your side of the story. Once a good defense attorney comes in and can explain things correctly, sometimes the tables can turn, and you can create a defense that will give you success in a healthcare fraud case. Other times, it's clear from the evidence available to the government that you're not going to win your healthcare fraud case, and you need to negotiate.
What I do is I have you come in and give me all the information, and obviously, I need you to be honest. When it comes to meeting with clients, I sit down with them face to face, I go over all the case details, and then we get a strategy together that makes sense under your circumstances.
Once you know what you can do to assist in your defense in a federal healthcare fraud case, start to take control of your life, gain peace of mind, and then get down to the nitty-gritty. We can figure out precisely what it will take to bring you the best result on your case.
What Are the Common Mistakes to Avoid?
If you or a loved one is charged with federal healthcare fraud, you must ensure you handle the case correctly. One of the first common mistakes I see people engaged in is talking to the authorities without an attorney. If the authorities are investigating you and you know if they approach you and want to talk to you, or you get a letter, you want to hire an attorney immediately.
Don't make the mistake of thinking you'll talk your way out of whatever is going on. Please don't make the foolish mistake of meeting with authorities and potentially giving them information they can and will use to prosecute you. Get an attorney.
I have you come in, we sit down and go over the situation. We have an honest discussion about what they may be investigating you for and what responsibility you may or may not have for the federal criminal investigation. If you've been charged with a crime, that's even more of a reason not to talk to the authorities about your offense.
So, don't fall for standard mistake number one in these federal healthcare fraud cases, and that's talking to the authorities without an attorney.
Sometimes, it may be beneficial to talk to the authorities, but you want to ensure you have your attorney by your side so your attorney can help direct you through the conversation and out the other side.
The other common mistake I see is inactivity. Meaning the person does nothing. They bury their head in the sand. They know they're being investigated. Maybe the agents have raided their office and taken their files, and they do nothing about it. Let the attorney know what's happened.
Give them all the information you can so that the attorney can be prepared to properly defend you and do any investigation that might be necessary to help you and contact the proper authorities – whether they be the investigating officers or the prosecutors if one has been assigned to the case.
Call Our Federal Criminal Lawyers for Help
Once we're moving in the right direction, several options are available to you in a federal healthcare fraud case filed pursuant to Section 1347. Those options need to be discussed with your attorney, and you need to develop a good game plan to get the best possible result and protect your freedom, reputation, rights, and life as you know it.
Our federal defense lawyers have healthcare fraud knowledge, and we have the experience to defend you effectively if you face healthcare fraud charges. You must hire the right defense attorney to get the best results possible.
At Hedding Law Firm, we have handled thousands of federal and state cases over many years of successful criminal defense practice in Los Angeles. We have the federal background to defend your case with an unparalleled skill set.