The FBI in New Jersey is launching a campaign urging the public to report health care fraud -- and if it helps generate tips, plans are to expand it nationwide.
The agency office in Newark says tips on crooked doctors and other health care professionals have dropped recently, from 25 in 2008 to just 18 last year.
And referrals from other government agencies are down even more, from 66 in 2008 to 9 last year.
"To make a good case, any case, you need human source reporting," Newark FBI Special Agent in Charge Michael Ward said in a statement.
Health care fraud is a booming business.
Nationwide, it amounts to anywhere from an estimated $160 million to half a billion dollars a day.
And it's not just in the government's Medicare and Medicaid programs, but in schemes against insurance companies as well, which everyone shoulders in the form of higher premiums.
So starting this week, 40 kiosks in 13 New Jersey malls statewide will carry ads appealing for tips from the public.
In addition, several digital billboards will carry the same message along the state's major interstate highways.
If it works, which will be defined by an increase in tips, the FBI expects to expand the program nationwide -- its first-ever advertising program other than it's well-known wanted notices.
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