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The Justice Department has brought charges against nearly 200 individuals in a crackdown on health care fraud schemes totaling $2.7 billion

Merrick Garland at a press conference (Via Rob Marsh/Getty Images)

The Justice Department reported that nearly 200 individuals have been charged in a widespread effort to crack down on health care fraud schemes totaling more than $2.7 billion.

Attorney General Merrick Garland announced charges against doctors, nurse practitioners, and others accused of various scams, including a $900 million scheme in Arizona targeting terminally ill patients.

“It doesn’t matter if you are involved in drug trafficking, a corporate executive, or a medical professional working for a health care company,” Garland told reporters. “If you profit from illegally distributing controlled substances, you will face consequences.”

Merrick Garland speaks in a press conference (Via Rob Marsh/Getty Images)

In the Arizona case, prosecutors alleged that two owners of wound care companies received over $330 million in kickbacks. They were accused of fraudulently billing Medicare for amniotic wound grafts, used as dressings for healing wounds.

According to the Justice Department, nurse practitioners were pressured to apply these unnecessary wound grafts to elderly patients, including those in hospice care. Some patients reportedly died either on the day they received the grafts or shortly after.

Prosecutors claimed that more than $900 million in false claims were submitted to Medicare in less than two years for grafts used on fewer than 500 patients.

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