Federal investigators say they are starting to target individual executives in health care fraud cases previously aimed at impersonal corporations.
It's raising the stakes for corporate honchos at drug companies, medical device manufacturers, nursing home chains and others who deal with Medicare and Medicaid.
Previously, if a company got caught, its lawyers in many cases would be able to negotiate a financial settlement. The company would write the government a big check and promise not to break the rules again.
Now, on top of fines paid by a company, senior executives can face criminal misdemeanor charges even if they weren't involved in the scheme but could have stopped it. And they can also be banned from doing business with federal programs, a career-ending consequence.
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