Boston (Agencies): At least six Indian-origin persons are among 111 doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals detained on charges of alleged involvement in a massive Medicare scam estimated at USD 225 million, in one of the biggest crackdowns on healthcare fraud-related crimes in the US.

The medical fraternity charged across nine cities are accused of crimes, including conspiracy to defraud Medicare, criminal false claims, money laundering and aggravated identify theft.

"With this takedown, we have identified and shut down large-scale fraud schemes operating throughout the country. This is the largest federal healthcare fraud takedown in our nation's history," informed Attorney General Eric Holder, who announced the charges with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

Medicare is a government insurance scheme that covers Americans who are 65 and older. About 45 million elderly and disabled Americans are enrolled in taxpayer-funded Medicare plans.

Jointly, the doctors, nurses, health care company owners charged in the fraud are accused of falsely billing Medicare of more than USD 225 million.

Over 700 agents from the FBI and the Department of Health and Human Services arrested the alleged swindlers in Brooklyn, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Louisiana, Miami and Tampa.

The agents also executed 16 search warrants across the country regarding the ongoing probe.

According to court documents, defendants participated in schemes to submit claims to Medicare for treatments that were medically redundant and often never given.

Charges and accused

In Chicago, Indian-origin doctor Jaswinder Rai Chhibber, president and owner of a medical clinic, was detained and presented in court. He is charged with one count of healthcare fraud.

In Detroit, among those accused were Vishnu Pradeep Meda, 30, Ram Naresh Rajulapati, 31 and Surya Nallani, 43.

In Tampa in Florida, physician Jayam Krishna Iyer was accused of submitting about USD 457,000 in claims to Medicare for services she did not render.

Besides, Indian-origin person, Harsh Mehta, 32, owner of a pharmacy, billed the medical insurers for pharmaceutical products he did not dispense.

Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer remarked healthcare professionals from "Los Angeles to New York and cities in between have cheated taxpayers and patients alike by defrauding the Medicare programme".