June 12, 1997
STINGERS GET STUNG!
The FBI’s Operation Crooked Needle was supposed to be a sting to catch Medicare fraud. But problems abound:
- Crooked Needle appears to be run by crooks. The private lab that is supposed to be helping the operation catch the criminals has been accused of criminal behavior themselves. They have been suspended from the Medicare program twice.
- Crooked Needle has cost taxpayers millions of dollars but has resulted in catching only a few small fish who have received light sentences. One of those caught received permission to leave the US, and then never returned to serve his sentence.
- Many question the need for Medicare sting operations at all. Some say that Medicare fraud is so pervasive that no stings are necessary. These critics say that the government should focus on finding existing fraud, not providing new temptations for it.
In sum, the only people really stung by this sting have been taxpayers. First, we pay for Medicare. Then, we pay more because of Medicare’s massive fraud. Then, we pay to investigate that fraud. Then we pay more because the investigation only produces further fraud.
Your tax dollars at work.
(Source: Miami Herald.)
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