Huge health-care fraud sweep: Only 1 addiction treatment case in Fla.


U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions called it the largest opioid-related fraud bust in U.S. history. He said at a news conference how an American dies of an overdose every 11 minutes.

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said the huge fraud crackdown was aimed at stopping opportunists from taking advantage of a “national scourge,” the nation’s killer opioid epidemic.

But when the charges were announced, it inexplicably sidestepped the biggest health-care fraud in Florida: addiction treatment.

» RELATED: Generation Heroin in Palm Beach County

» Latest headlines on sober homes and drug rehab in South Florida

In fact, just two addiction treatment arrests were made: Eric Snyder, who the Feds raided three years ago in Delray Beach, in 2014 but arrested this week. He is charged with fraudulently billing insurers $58 million over nearly five years; and Christopher Fuller, accused of participating in the alleged scheme by accepting kickbacks for enrolling insured addicts in Snyder’s program.

» Feds: Delray rehab owner arrested, billed $58 million for urine tests

It’s not that other types of fraud were overlooked. Prosecutors are charging 77 defendants in South Florida. But none appears to involve addiction treatment, save Snyder.

In total, Sessions announcement included charges against 412 people, including 52 doctors in what he described as the largest health insurance fraud crackdown in U.S. history.

» RELATED: Palm Beach County is right to weigh suing opioid makers. Pam Bondi should, too.

The criminal complaints appear to involve largely other types of health care fraud as well as addiction treatment. California defendants include a compounding pharmacy and home health care providers. There were numerous cases of more typical health care fraud involving charging Medicare for services not provided and even fraud alleged to have been committed by assisted care facilities.

“These defendants have defrauded taxpayers of approximately $1.3 billion,” said Sessions, who said that the health care professionals involved “seem oblivious to the disastrous consequences of their greed. Their actions not only enrich themselves … but also feed addictions and caused addictions to begin.”

Sessions said that 205 health care professionals are also being suspended or banned from participation in any federal health care programs.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

LOOK: Rescuers help stranded dolphin in Florida Keys
LOOK: Rescuers help stranded dolphin in Florida Keys

A female dolphin stranded near the shores of Sugarloaf Key was helped by a group of rescuers on Saturday. A homeowner making repairs to his window broken after Hurricane Irma spotted the dolphin near his home around 11 a.m. He called the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, and soon a group of people were helping to return the slightly burned female...
Melania Trump meets Prince Harry on first solo trip abroad as first lady
Melania Trump meets Prince Harry on first solo trip abroad as first lady

Melania Trump has completed her first solo duty as first lady outside of the United States, participating in a meeting with Prince Harry ahead of the Invictus Games - the multi-sport international event Harry created for wounded, injured or sick armed services members, and leading the U.S. delegation for the Games. On Saturday, the first...
NEW: Five displaced after Lake Worth apartment catches on fire
NEW: Five displaced after Lake Worth apartment catches on fire

The Red Cross is helping to find shelter for five people who were displaced after their Lake Worth apartment caught on fire. Palm Beach Fire Rescue responded to the fire around 6 a.m. today in the 700 block of North A Street. Crews located a fire in a front bedroom and extinguished it before it could damage surrounding apartments. No one was reported...
POST TIME: The Norleys, Part III: Two deaths and a return to school
POST TIME: The Norleys, Part III: Two deaths and a return to school

(Originally published March 17, 2016) Readers: This is the last of a three-parter on the Norleys; it’s a family story of tragedy and triumph. Dolores and Theodore “Skeeter” Norley already had dealt with their first son, Greg, being born with developmental challenges, and another son, David, vanishing at sea at age 16. The fates weren&rsquo...
POST TIME: The Norleys, Part II: A brave stand and a tragic vanishing
POST TIME: The Norleys, Part II: A brave stand and a tragic vanishing

(Originally published March 10, 2016) Readers: Last week we began telling the life story of Dolores Norley. Husband Theodore “Skeeter” Norley — many of his patients just called him “Doctor T” — had been just the second orthopedic surgeon in Palm Beach County. But he clashed with the establishment. He refused to treat...
More Stories