Law Enforcement Budget Cutbacks: Organized Crime and Medicare Fraud
Organized crime has not gone away, and neither has Medicare fraud. But the Obama administration has decided to cut back on enforcement efforts in these two important crime-fighting areas.
In New York, the office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is reducing the number of agents devoted to probing organized crime.
The reduction, which will leave about three dozen agents to investigate about 700 “made members” and 7,000 associates, marks the third time in five years that the office has downsized this part of the FBI’s work. The cuts have dropped the office’s mob-related force by 60% since 2008.
Some agents have privately grumbled over the decisions.
“The problem hasn’t gone away,” one senior FBI investigator told The New York Times on the condition of anonymity because he did not want to publicly criticize his superiors. “Just because you put a guy away,” he said, “they replace him. They make new guys. Unless you stay on top of it, you won’t know who those guys are.”
Meanwhile, over in the Department of Health and Human Services, senior officials are forcing the inspector general’s office to cut its staff by 400 personnel. Only last year, it numbered 1,800. The reductions are a product of “massive” budget cuts that are expected to impact investigations into Medicare and Medicaid fraud and abuse.
The IG office was already “stretched so thin that the agency has failed to act on 1,200 complaints over the past year alleging wrongdoing—and expects that number to rise,” wrote Fred Schulte wrote of The Center for Public Integrity.
Since organized crime members are the biggest perpetrators of Medicare fraud, these budget cutbacks have provided a double dose of good news for crime syndicates.
To Learn More:
F.B.I. Will Fight the Mafia With Fewer Investigators (by William Rashbaum, New York Times)
Medicare Fraud Outrunning Enforcement Efforts (by Fred Schulte, Center for Public Integrity)
Government Report Blasts Lax Regulation of Medicaid Home Care Fraud (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
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