On Monday, the White House convened a summit on protecting seniors that included remarks by the President and DOJ Attorney General William Barr. This month marks the first birthday for the DOJ’s Transnational Elder Fraud Strike Force, created primarily to curb internationally-based frauds of American seniors. At the summit, AG Barr left no doubt as to the DOJ’s commitment to combating elder fraud, announcing that he has directed the FBI and every U.S. Attorney’s office to prioritize elder fraud cases. The results speak for themselves: This year, the DOJ assembled an Elder Fraud Sweep that resulted in over 400 defendants charged.
The DOJ is also doubling-down its financial investment. At the summit, the president announced a grant of nearly two million dollars to the National White Collar Crime Center to help state and local law enforcement officers develop training and tools to combat elder fraud. The president also highlighted the National Elder Fraud Hotline, established in March, that has already received nearly 2,000 calls and is fueling this enforcement initiative.
This summit comes fresh off the heels of the HHS Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announcement on June 1, that it is ‘ratcheting up’ nursing home surveys and penalties following the effects of the COVID Pandemic. As we emphasized in our webinar on June 11th (available here), states are under intense pressure to ramp up infection control surveys in the next 30 days and CMS has set forth heightened penalties and shortened compliance deadlines. The White House, DOJ, and HHS are actively ramping up efforts to protect elderly citizens, necessitating proactive measures for companies engaged in nursing home and elderly care. Heightened government scrutiny is on the immediate horizon, and companies should review and update their compliance policies with counsel before the Government comes knocking.