Of course, tax fraud is not the only scheme popular this season.

On Feb. 28, police charged 16 Texas residents for participating in a $60 million Medicare fraud scheme. During the scheme, the individuals involved put patients into hospice and provided them with unneeded drug doses. The U.S. Department of Justice said these unnecessary doses included morphine and other drugs.

All of those found to be part of the activity were a part of Novus Health Services and Optim Health Services, Inc. Above all, Bradley J. Harris, one of the accused, ran and co-owned both companies and is an accountant.

Accordingly, police charged the 16 individuals involved in the illegal activity with conspiracy to commit health care fraud. Additionally, 12 of the accused faced an additional charge, including health care fraud and unlawful distribution of a controlled substance.

John Parker, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Texas, said the fact that tens of millions of dollars were stolen is shocking.

“That these defendants used human life at its most vulnerable stage as this gist for this scheme displays a shocking level of depravity that this community simply cannot tolerate,” he said.

In addition to Harris, those charged include Amy Harris, 42; Melanie Murphey, 35; Patricia Armstrong, 33; Mark Gibbs, 46; Laila Hirjee, 50; Syed Aziz, 51; Reziuddin Siddique, 63; Charles Leach, 64; Jessica Love, 37; Ali Rizvi, 49; Tammie Little, 55; Mary Jaclyn Pannell, 29; Taryn Stuart, 32; Slade Brown, 47; and Samuel Anderson, 35.

Within the scheme, which ran from July 2012 to September 2016, the accused submitted false claims for hospice services. Furthermore, they recruited ineligible Medicare beneficiaries and falsified information to hide their scheme from government officials. During that time, Novus billed Medicare and Medicaid more than $60 million and the government paid more than $35 million.

Doctors provided patient referrals in an exchange for medical director salaries. Despite their referrals, however, the majority of the patient care was conducted by nurses and Bradley Harris, who has no medical license.

Harris, along with nurses and other unlicensed people, determined a patient’s care and their drug dosages. Accordingly, this led to serious injury or death in some cases.

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