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FBI to crack down on health care fraud in New Jersey

Health care fraud cost taxpayers in New Jersey around $8 million dollars in 2010. Now, the FBI in New Jersey has begun a new campaign aimed at white collar crime that seeks the public's help in recognizing and reporting incidences of health care fraud in order to make more fraud arrests and crack down on health care scams.

Digital billboards near malls on major traffic routes from Hackensack to Atlantic City urge the public to report health care fraud with a message that fraud hurts more than just the government and private insurance carriers.

The FBI is working closely with Clear Channel Outdoor, which is the biggest of the outdoor advertising firms, to create the digital billboards. Advertisements are scheduled to run for the next two months. If the program proves successful at generating tips about fraudulent activities in New Jersey, the program could be expanded across the country.

A spokesperson for the Newark Division of the FBI said that health care fraud creates a huge dollar loss for taxpayers with an estimate between $60 billion and $200 billion annually across the United States. A spokesperson for the FBI said that their best investigations have been driven by people coming forward to make complaints.

In New Jersey, 18 cases of health care fraud were reported to the FBI by the general public in 2010. With the new public awareness campaign in New Jersey, the FBI is hoping to increase the number of calls regarding health care fraud coming into its local office.

The FBI is looking to crack down on various methods of health care fraud. One is health care providers billing for services that were never provided, such as intentionally billing for diagnoses or procedures that didn't occur. Others could be health care providers billing for a more expensive service than took place, or billing for brand-name drugs when generics were used or filing more than one claim for one medical service.

Source: NorthJersey.com, "FBI in N.J. launches health care fraud awareness drive," Peter J. Sampson, July 25, 2011

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