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Florida doctor charged with $26M in Medicaid, Medicare fraud

Florida doctor charged with $26M in Medicaid, Medicare fraud
© Kuzuma/iStock

Federal prosecutors alleged a Florida doctor defrauded Medicaid, Medicare and other insurance providers to the tune of $26 million by billing them for nonexistent procedures.

Prosecutors with the Northern District of Florida allege Dr. Moses D. Degraft-Johnson submitted a series of false claims and pocketed the money between September 2015 and February 2020, in some cases claiming to have performed the procedures in his office while actually traveling to locations such as Spain, Ghana and the United Kingdom, ABC News reports.

They alleged Degraft-Johnson, a naturalized American citizen, had told officials he was building toward an “ultimate long-term professional goal” of becoming president of Ghana and was “hard at work using the proceeds of fraud in the United States to establish an empire in a foreign country."

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“He used his access to the hospital’s daily census to poach patients for his scheme to defraud, instructing his staff to cold call patients from the hospital so that he could use their presence to fraudulently bill health care programs,” prosecutors said in court documents.

Degraft-Johnson pleaded not guilty Friday on all charges in the indictment, which include health care fraud and conspiracy to commit health care fraud.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Charles Stampelos ruled Degraft-Johnson was a flight risk Friday, ordering him held at Tallahassee’s Federal Detention Center ahead of his March 23 trial, the Tallahassee Democrat reported. Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Grogan said the doctor has more than a million dollars in cash assets despite claiming to have only $200,000 in a pretrial report.

“You can get enough money to hit the road,” Grogan said during a three-hour detention hearing, according to the newspaper. “That’s what we’re concerned about.”