In what the U.S. Department of Justice described as an "unprecedented nationwide sweep," more than 100 people in Florida have been charged with crimes related to Medicare and Medicaid fraud, the federal agency announced Wednesday.
In all, criminal and civil charges were filed against 301 people across the country, with 100 in the federal Southern District of Florida, which includes nine counties.
An additional 15 people were charged in Tampa, Orlando and other parts of Florida.
The Department of Justice said in a news release that the allegations in the Southern District of Florida involved fraud schemes totaling about $220 million, including pharmacy fraud and false billings for home healthcare and mental-health services.
"As this takedown should make clear, health care fraud is not an abstract violation or benign offense -- it is a serious crime," U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a prepared statement. "The wrongdoers that we pursue in these operations seek to use public funds for private enrichment. They target real people -- many of them in need of significant medical care. They promise effective cures and therapies, but they provide none. Above all, they abuse basic bonds of trust -- between doctor and patient; between pharmacist and doctor; between taxpayer and government -- and pervert them to their own ends."