(BROOKLYN, N.Y.) — Twenty-three defendants, including nine doctors, were charged with enterprise corruption on Tuesday in connection with a $7 million Medicaid fraud indictment handed down by Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson Tuesday.
The defendants allegedly lured individuals from low-income neighborhoods, homeless shelters and welfare offices into corrupt medical clinics for unnecessary tests with the promise of free footwear. “These defendants allegedly exploited the most vulnerable members of our society and raked in millions of dollars by doing so,” Thompson said in a statement. “That so many doctors allegedly participated in this elaborate scheme to defraud a health care system designed to help the poor is truly disgraceful.”
Among the charges leveled against the defendants were corruption, money laundering, health care fraud, falsifying business records, offering a false instrument for filing, grand larceny, conspiracy and petit larceny. Some of the defendants face up to 25 years in prison on the most serious charges.
The investigation into the case begain in July 2012, a release from Thompson’s office says. The initial tip came from a Brooklyn resident who told the D.A.’s Action Center that “she was approached by recruiters and taken to one of the clinics, where she met with a podiatrist and was given a knee brace and sneakers.” The woman said she did not need the knee brace, but “was told she had to take it to get the sneakers.”
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