KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Federal authorities have brought charges against 35 people responsible for $2.1 billion in losses in one of the largest health care fraud schemes ever prosecuted, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Ivan Andre Scott, 34, of Kissimmee, was among those indicted Friday. Federal authorities say he was a marketer, one of many who recruited elderly patients for genetic testing they didn't need.
Judy Johnson wasn't recruited by Scott, but she and her husband Ken say they both fell victim to a similar scheme.
They were convinced that with a quick cheek swab, they could learn if they had any cancer-carrying genes.
"They indicated they could give us some results that if it's genetic, that it could be passed on to my children," Judy Johnson said.
They were told Medicare would foot the bill.
Results were promised in four to six weeks, but almost a year later, they've received nothing except a slew of charges to their Medicare account.
Judy's account was billed more than $10,000. Ken's account was billed more than $8,300.
Marketing companies in numerous states hired local recruiters to go anywhere seniors hang out, according to the U.S. Department of Justice
The cancer test may have been the hook, but the real goal was to collect as many Medicare numbers as possible.
“The defendants are alleged to have capitalized on the fears of elderly Americans in order to induce them to sign up for unnecessary or non-existent cancer screening tests,” U.S. Attorney Ariana Fajardo Orshan, of the Southern District of Florida, said. “The genetic testing fraud schemes put personal greed above the preservation of the American health care system."
The scheme involved hundreds of people and thousands of victims and ultimately defrauded Medicare out of billions of dollars, according to authorities.
"It doesn't matter whether it was out of our pocket, Medicare's pocket, it's wrong," Ken Johnson said. "It's a fraud."