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U.S. charges 412 in health fraud schemes worth $1.3 billion

WASHINGTON -- Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Thursday announced what officials are calling the largest health care fraud enforcement action in Justice Department history.

Sessions said 412 people nationwide stand charged in health care fraud schemes resulting in $1.3 billion in false billings.

Those charged include 115 doctors and other health care providers. The opioid epidemic was a major focus of the arrests and charges.

Many defendants were charged in connection with prescribing and distributing dangerous narcotics.

"Among those defendants announced today, 120 have been charged with opioid-related crimes, making this also the largest opioid-related fraud takedown in American history," Sessions said.

Sessions cited the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for reporting that the opioid epidemic kills more than 90 people every day.

Sessions said close to 300 health care providers have been suspended or banned from participating in federal health care programs.