Brown says his Medi-Cal fraud division has recouped $209 million

Chris Rizo Mar. 8, 2010, 12:49pm

Jerry Brown (D)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Legal Newsline)-Undoubtedly sounding like a candidate for governor, California Attorney General Jerry Brown said Monday that the state is getting a lot of bang out of the taxpayer money going to his office.

In a statement, the Democrat said his office last year recovered $209 million in Medi-Cal fraud cases, or $36 for every $1 expended from the state's general fund.

"In these tough budget times, the state can't afford to lose millions in hard-earned taxpayer dollars from people who try to cheat and steal from the system," Brown said. "Thanks to the tireless work of DOJ investigators, we protected our most vulnerable citizens and recovered critical public health dollars."

Brown said that in 2009, his Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse also returned more than $12 million to victims of elder abuse.

The Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse, among other functions, investigates and prosecutes alleged frauds against state health care resources for the needy. Last year, the branch had a $33.1 million operating budget.

Brown's combined $209 million recovery stemmed from civil lawsuits the attorney general's office filed against companies and individuals that billed the state's Medi-Cal fund for unnecessary services or for services never performed.

For instance, in December Brown reached a $21.3 million settlement with pharmaceutical giant Schering-Plough Corp., resolving allegations the Kenilworth, N.J.-based company inflated the price of the asthma-treating medication Albuterol and other drugs, overcharging Medi-Cal millions of dollars in pharmacy reimbursements.

Brown announced last week that he is running for governor, a post he held nearly three decades ago.

The only Democrat who has entered the race to succeed Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Brown will likely meet Republican former eBay CEO Meg Whitman or state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner in November's general election.

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at

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