FBI: Hospitals used homeless to scam Medicare
The federal government has charged three Los Angeles area hospitals and a medical clinic with running a multi-million dollar scam that involved recruiting homeless people to undergo unnecessary medical procedures at federal or state expense.
CNN reports that there were "hundreds, possibly thousands, of homeless recruits allegedly offered about $20 and a warm bed to undergo bogus medical treatment."
The investigation began with an incident two years ago, when police videotaped ambulances from Los Angeles hospitals dumping indigent patients on Skid Row against their will. However, it went on to uncover far more shocking abuses.
Salvador Hernandez of the FBI's Los Angeles office told the LA Times, "The defendants are accused of preying on the homeless and exploiting their desperate conditions for personal gain."
Now one hospital CEO faces criminal charges and more charges are said to be pending. Los Angeles city attorney Rocky Delgadillo has also filed a civil lawsuit, alleging that some of the patients were harmed or their lives endangered by receiving treatment for ailments they did not have.
"I think these folks felt that no one would complain because they were homeless individuals," Delgadillo told CNN. "Well, they were dead wrong."
This video is from CNN, broadcast August 11, 2008.