U.S. authorities on Friday sentenced 14 defendants to a total of more than 74 years in prison for steering patients to a defunct hospital in Texas in a $200 million kickback scheme.
Defendants in the case disguised kickbacks as “consulting fees” calculated as a percentage of surgeries each doctor referred to the defunct hospital, the Forest Park Medical Center, the Department of Justice said in a statement.
The defendants have also been ordered to pay $82.9 million in restitution.
Tens of billions of dollars are estimated to be lost in the United States through healthcare fraud each year. The National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association estimated that as much as $300 billion, or 10% of total annual health outlay in the United States, is stolen through fraudulent activity each year, compounding the challenges of high healthcare costs.