Fraud in government programs is costing billions of dollars annually, contributing to budget shortfalls. As huge sums of money are lost each year because of dishonesty and corruption affecting benefits programs, some are using the high levels of fraud as an excuse to call for benefit cuts.
The wrongful acts of criminals should not deprive honest people of benefits they genuinely need, when there are better ways to fight fraud. Those who know of fraud within the system should get in touch with a Medicaid fraud attorney and take action. Brewer & Prichard P.C. can help whistleblowers who learn of fraud and who wish to come forward. Individuals who help the government to stop dishonest actions can not only protect important programs that serve the public, but may also be entitled to a portion of the money they help the government to recover by reporting the wrongful acts.
Fraud in Government Benefits Programs
A recent OP/ED in Forbes summarized the extent to which fraud is costing taxpayers and affecting the operation of important social safety net programs. For example:
- Medicaid: The cost of Medicaid and Medicare fraud reportedly approaches 10 percent of the programs' annual budgets. One recent high profile Medicaid fraud case involved current and former Russian diplomats operating a scam that generated $1.5 million in fraudulent Medicaid payments. In the past decade, 92 percent of Russian diplomats based in New York reportedly underreported their incomes so Medicaid would cover the costs of their children's births.
- Medicare: Medicare fraud is perpetrated by Italian, Russian and Nigerian mobsters, as well as by criminals within the United States. One recent story indicated that a South Florida woman engaged in a Medicare scam that cost taxpayers $20 million, while a doctor in Houston reportedly defrauded Medicare of as much as $159 million. Some of the criminals engaged in Medicare fraud were reportedly making as much as $20,000 to $40,000 daily.
- Unemployment: A Department of Labor Report showed $7.7 billion in "improper" payment of unemployment benefits in 2013. In some states, improper payment rates reached 18 percent.
- Food Stamps: The government estimates that the fraud rate within the food stamp program is approximately 4 percent or $3 billion.
- Disability benefits: The Social Security Disability program is in danger of running out of money, and the trust fund could be depleted more quickly than it should as a result of fraud. One recent case involved workers in New York City collecting $400 million in benefits improperly since 1988.
These are just some of many examples of fraud within the federal and state benefits systems. While the OP/ED blames the government itself, the fact is that fraud is the fault of the criminals perpetrating it, while social safety net programs are important and need to be protected.
Whistleblowers who learn of schemes to defraud government programs should not hesitate to get legal help and to come forward to help make the fraud public. The U.S. Government has been increasing fraud-fighting efforts to try to combat problems, but insiders are often in the best position to present evidence of wrongdoing and to take action to stop money and benefits from going to those who don't deserve them.
Contact a Medicaid fraud attorney if you believe you have evidence of fraud. Call Brewer & Prichard P.C. today at 800-445-8710 or visit www.bplaw.com to schedule a consultation.