‘Operation Brace Yourself’: Medicare scammed out of $1B

Local News

COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) – The United States Attorney’s Office along with the FBI and IRS made a big bust in a large healthcare scheme that originated in South Carolina.  

The FBI is calling it one of the largest healthcare fraud schemes in the agency’s history. On Tuesday, United States Attorney Sherri Lydon released details related to “Operation Brace Yourself.”

A special agent with the criminal investigations division of the Internal Revenue Service gave a brief overview of who the scheme targeted. 

“These individuals were motivated by greed. They concocted an elaborate scheme to exploit the US health system by targeting medicare beneficiaries,” said Matthew Lyon with the IRS.

A Mount Pleasant man is one of many indicted for his alledged involvement in the healthcare scheme. The scheme is described as using television ads to attract medicare beneficiaries to buy medical equipment like neck and back braces. 

The Attorney’s Office said low-cost, Chinese-made products were shipped to the patient while the original prescriptions were used to bill Medicare extra money. Lydon says money defrauded from Medicare totals $1 billion across the country. 

“The proceeds of the scheme were used to purchase exotic cars, yachts, and luxury real estate across the United States,” added US Attorney Sherri Lydon. 

The scheme also has an impact on non-Medicare beneficiaries. 

Lydon continued, “Ultimately, it is the taxpayers who will pay for higher healthcare premiums and out of pocket costs that result from fraud on the medicare system.” 

Over 80 search warrants in 17 districts and charges against 24 individuals have been made so far. 

One of the defendants in this case, Andrew Chimel from Mount Pleasant is listed in the indictments as having ownership in three companies in the Upstate; D2 Medical, LLC and Wren Senior Services both in Greer and In-home Senior Care in Taylors. 

Chimel is said to have defrauded medicare for $200 million. 

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