Biden Administration Charges New York Midwives Over Fake Vaccine Cards

Biden Administration Charges New York Midwives Over Fake Vaccine Cards
A COVID-19 vaccine is prepared in Boston, Mass., on March 4, 2021. (Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images)
Tom Ozimek
4/22/2023
Updated:
4/24/2023
0:00

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has charged the owner and two employees of a New York midwife practice of distributing more than 2,600 fake COVID-19 vaccine cards.

In a press release, the DOJ said that two nurse midwives (one of whom is the owner) at Sage-Femme Midwifery PLLC, as well as a nurse working at the practice, have been charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States.

All three are accused of conspiring to enroll the midwife practice as an unauthorized COVID-19 vaccine administration site, destroying vials of the vaccine that were meant for patients, and of providing fake proof of vaccination cards.

“Even though Sage-Femme was a small midwife practice, the defendants’ fraud turned it into one of the busiest vaccination sites in New York State, outpacing large, state-run vaccination sites,” the DOJ said.

The charges have been filed in a federal court in Brooklyn as part of a nationwide COVID-19 enforcement action.

“The defendants in these cases used the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to engage in fraud, including faking vaccine cards and stealing vital funds designed to keep struggling businesses afloat,” United States Attorney Breon Peace said in a statement.

In total, the enforcement action resulted in criminal charges against 18 individuals for allegedly taking part in health care fraud schemes involving around $490 million in fraudulent claims.

‘Combat and Prevent COVID-19 Related Fraud’

In a separate press release announcing criminal charges against the 18 accused, the DOJ said that it has seized over $16 million in cash and other fraud proceeds.

“This unprecedented enforcement action against defendants across the country makes clear that the Department is using every available resource to combat and prevent COVID-19 related fraud and safeguard the integrity of taxpayer-funded programs,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement.

One of those indicted as part of the nationwide action is a California lab owner who has been charged with submitting over $358 million in false and fraudulent claims to Medicare, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), and a private insurance company for laboratory testing.

Also in California, a medical doctor was charged for allegedly defrauding the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) COVID-19 Uninsured Program of around $230 million.

“The doctor was the second highest biller in the country to the Uninsured Program, and he allegedly submitted fraudulent claims for treatment of patients who were insured, billed for services that were not rendered, and billed for services that were not medically necessary,” the DOJ stated.

The doctor allegedly used over $100 million of the fraud proceeds to trade stock options.

Suppliers of COVID-19 over-the-counter tests—which Medicare started to cover in April 2022—were also charged for allegedly supplying dozens of COVID-19 tests to patients that didn’t want or need them. In some cases, the patients were deceased.

In Florida, a doctor and marketer were charged with illegally buying Medicare beneficiary numbers and shipping unrequested over-the-counter COVID-19 tests to beneficiaries, causing over $8.4 million in fraudulent claims.

Separately, the Center for Program Integrity of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CPI/CMS) announced on April 20 that it had taken “adverse administrative actions” against 28 medical providers for their alleged involvement in COVID-19 scams.

“It is particularly offensive to discover individuals who took advantage of the pandemic to defraud the government,” said CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure in a statement.

“CMS will continue to aggressively investigate COVID-19-related fraud and has already taken actions against 28 providers to protect the sustainability of the Medicare program,” she added.

Tom Ozimek is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times. He has a broad background in journalism, deposit insurance, marketing and communications, and adult education.
twitter
Related Topics