A Seattle physician has been charged with Medicare fraud. Published reports claim Bruce Chen was falsely billing for visiting patients. While that may sound more like an oversight or paperwork error, the government says some of the patients allegedly seen by Chen were dead while at other times he wasn’t even in the United States.
According to a story in the Minot Daily News, Chen is accused of submitting 673 false claims for medical services in the Seattle area while he was out of the country. He is also accused of turning in 212 claims between April 2007 and July 2012 for nursing home visits that never took place. Some visits could not have taken place because the patients were dead.
Medicare fraud is a serious crime that costs U.S. taxpayers billions each year. It leads to higher health care costs meaning some folks go without care or treatment because they simply cannot afford treatment.
The indictment doesn’t say how Chen was caught. In most instances, whistleblowers can claim that credit. While Chen’s current case is criminal, whistleblowers with inside, original source information can receive up to 30% of whatever the government collects from the defendant. The federal false claims act case says that the government can seek triple damages or up to $11,000 per false claim. In Chen’s case that could be $9,735,000. ($11,000 x 818 claims). He also faces up to 45 years in prison.
Medicare fraud is costly but whistleblowers are responsible for billions in losses paid back to the government each year. Their efforts help reduce taxes and assure that services are more readily available for those who need them.
If you have original source information about Medicaid fraud, Medicare fraud, or loss to any other state or federal program, we want to speak with you. Our team of whistleblower lawyers help our clients stop fraud and collect the largest cash awards possible. Cases are always handled on a contingent fee meaning we do not get paid unless you collect.
Post by Brian Mahany, Esq.
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[Ed. Note: The charges against Chen are merely accusations. Like all defendants, he should be considered innocent until proven guilty.]