Tuesday, April 26, 2022

How Opportunists Got Rich Off COVID-19 Pandemic by Stealing Our Money; Alleged Covid-19 Fraud Schemes Totaling $150 Million Draw Criminal Charges, and other C-Virus related stories

NY Post photo composite
How opportunists got rich off COVID-19 pandemic by stealing our money:
On Saturday, April 26, 2020, Robert Stewart Jr., a 33-year-old contractor from Virginia, invited an investigative reporter to take a trip on his private jet.
“I’m talking with you against the advice of my attorney,” Stewart laughed, before bringing J. David McSwane aboard a luxury Legacy 450 Flexjet, which he’d rented to deliver six million N95 masks during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Stewart had recently landed a $34.5 million contract with the US Department of Veterans Affairs, which operates the nation’s largest network of hospitals, promising to provide them with enough of the medical-grade (and at the time, scarce) masks to meet the overwhelming demand.
Problem was, there were no masks aboard the plane.
“The only reason I took the plane was because of my parents,” Stewart explained to McSwane. “They’re old and I didn’t want them to get sick, and I wanted them to see this.”
Like most of the COVID profiteers, Stewart wasn’t being paid by the federal government upfront. Instead, he got a purchase order from the VA, proving that his deal was backed by Uncle Sam. It was then up to Stewart to find a private investor to give him a high-interest loan, to pay for things like equipment, employees and private jets. When the masks were delivered, “the feds pay up,” writes McSwane. --->READ MORE HERE
Photo: Ting Shen for The Wall Street Journal
Alleged Covid-19 Fraud Schemes Totaling $150 Million Draw Criminal Charges:
Justice Department unveils charges that range from overcharging for medical services to selling fake vaccination cards.
Federal prosecutors have charged about 20 people in the past two weeks with allegedly engaging in various fraud schemes related to the Covid-19 pandemic that amounted to about $150 million in improper government claims, around $20 million of which have been paid, officials said.
The Justice Department has stepped up efforts to uncover theft from programs that were pumping billions of dollars into the healthcare system after the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020. The new cases are filed in districts around the country, and provide a sweeping look at how some healthcare providers allegedly sought to cheat Medicare and other programs by bundling charges for unnecessary services—or those that weren’t ever provided—with the delivery of relatively inexpensive Covid-19 tests.
A doctor who ran drive-through Covid-19 testing sites in Maryland, for example, allegedly billed Medicare for many of those tests, along with $1.5 million in other lengthy physician visits that purportedly accompanied them, but never actually happened. The doctor, Ron Elfenbein, allegedly told his employees to submit the tests for reimbursement as services that required 30-minute consultations, because the higher complexity services were “the ‘bread and butter’ of how we got paid,” an indictment returned on Tuesday alleged. A woman who answered the phone at Dr. Elfenbein’s company said he wasn’t in the office on Wednesday and a lawyer for him couldn’t be identified.
A nurse practitioner in Miami, Elizabeth Hernandez, allegedly billed Medicare for $134 million in fraudulent claims, using relaxed telemedicine rules to sign orders for unnecessary genetic tests and medical equipment. And people in New Jersey, California and Colorado allegedly sold hundreds of fake vaccine cards created to look like official Centers for Disease Control and Prevention records. --->READ MORE HERE
Follow links below to relevant/related stories and resources:

Showdown Looms Over Vacated Mask Mandate

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USA TODAY: Coronavirus Updates

WSJ: Coronavirus Live Updates

YAHOO NEWS: Coronavirus Live Updates

NEW YORK POST: Coronavirus The Latest

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