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(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Gordon Johnson (D-Bergen) to further protect taxpayers by increasing penalties for Medicaid fraud received final legislative approval early Tuesday by the Assembly.

The bill (A-3015) increases penalties for committing Medicaid fraud to strengthen efforts to combat attempts to cheat the program of state and federal funds that are intended to serve the health care needs of the medically indigent.

“This money is supposed to be paying for the health care needs for our poorest residents,” Johnson said. “Taxpayers expect it to do just that, not wind up being wasted through fraud and abuse that serves no one but the greedy and dishonest. We need to send a stronger message and this bill does just that in this tough budget year.”

The bill is intended to ensure that the decision not to impose a jail sentence in a Medicaid fraud case – as well as other fraud involving public agencies or public funds – is given especially careful consideration by the sentencing court, since the matter involves fraud against the public.

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