Wednesday, August 15, 2012

More Government Ammo Panic

The Social Security Administration has requested 174,000 rounds of  “.357 Sig 125 grain bonded jacketed hollow point pistol ammunition” for delivery within 60 days.    Right before the election!  Or, more accurately, to be paid out of the current budget before the current fiscal year ends September 30.

Look, anything our government orders, it orders in huge quantities.   It's a big government, with way too many agencies and agents.  As the Declaration of Independence described King George III (and it fits the current national government), "has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance."  If you looked at the quantities of toilet paper that our government orders, and you were of a paranoid mind, you would conclude that the government is taking this "wipe your behind because you are stupid to know how to do it yourself" to its logical conclusion.

I don't know how many police officers the Social Security Administration has, but when I look at the quantity of Medicare fraud and Social Security fraud out there, I would consider 1000 federal agents to handle this would be way too low.  Many local police departments expect or require their officers to fire 1000 rounds every three months in practice, and for a good reason: a case of ammo is way cheaper than a civil suit by an innocent bystander who gets hit in a gunfight.  A year's worth of practice by 1000 agents would be three million rounds.

UPDATE: For those who find it hard to believe that all these executive branches have a need for armed law enforcement agents: Health & Human Services is often going after some pretty serious crimes.  For example,  Medicare and Medicaid fraud cases that involve tens of millions of dollars.  You don't think some of these crooks might decide not to go peacefully?

The owner of a Miami health care agency has pleaded guilty for his role in a $60 million home health Medicare fraud scheme.
Or this one:

A Des Plaines woman has been indicted for her reported role in what federal prosecutors described was a conspiracy involving kickbacks for Medicare patients, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced on Monday.
Rakeshkumar Shah, 46, of Des Plaines, four others, and a home healthcare agency in Lincolnwood were named in the suit.
Marilyn Maravilla, 55, of Chicago, Junjee L. Arroyo, 44, of Elmhurst, Ferdinand Echavia, 39, of Chicago, and Jean Holloway, 41, of Bellwood, and Shah are accused of paying and receiving approximately $400,000 in kickbacks to themselves, nurses, marketers and others to refer and retain Medicare patients that allowed the Lincolnwood business named in the complaint, Goodwill Home Healthcare, to bill Medicare approximately $5 million between August 2008 and July 2010, according to the press release.
Read more here:

Or this one:
Dr. Bruckner will pay nearly $700,000 in restitution and will serve up to three years in prison. He and his business also face a mandatory minimum five-year suspension from participation in the Medicaid and Medicare programs.
Dr. Bruckner, who ran a dental office in Bushwick since 2003 and another in Canarsie since 1988, submitted hundreds of false claims to the Medicaid program, according to investigators. The dentist and his company paid recruiters kickbacks to supply him and at least three other dentists with Medicaid patients at his offices.
The scheme occurred between 2007 and 2011; during that time, the majority of patients at those offices were brought in by recruiters. Dr. Bruckner and his business regularly paid the recruiters $25 to $30 kickbacks for each Medicaid recipient they brought in. They were often recruited from homeless shelters and soup kitchens and transported by van to his offices. Dr. Bruckner gave the recruiters $15 to $20 to pay the recipients at the conclusion of their visit. 
And that's just since yesterday.

UPDATE 2: A reader points me to this depressing but unsurprising article about organized crime and Medicare/Medicaid fraud:

Organized crime gangs are exploiting a new target for illegal profit: Medicare and Medicaid.
Experienced in running drug, prostitution and gambling rings, crime groups of various ethnicities and nationalities are learning it's safer and potentially more profitable to file fraudulent claims with the federal Medicare program and state-run Medicaid plans.
"They're hitting us and hitting us hard," said Timothy Menke, head of investigations for the Office of Inspector General at the Department of Health and Human Services. "Organized crime involvement in health care fraud is widespread."...
Recent cases include crime boss Konstantin Grigoryan, a former Soviet army colonel who pleaded guilty to taking $20 million from Medicare. Karapet "Doc" Khacheryan, boss of a Eurasian crime gang, was recently convicted with five lieutenants of stealing doctor identities in a $2 million scam.
Two Nigerians, Christopher Iruke and his wife, Connie Ikpoh, were charged October 15 with bilking Medicare of $6 million dollars by fraudulently billing the government for electric wheelchairs and other expensive medical equipment. 

I'm guessing that private insurers are facing similar challenges.


  1. Why does SSA or HHS need their own police force?

    Don't we already have Federal Marshals for this purpose?

  2. Strictly speaking, the marshals are court officers, not executive branch enforcement. They were first created as part of the Judiciary Act of 1789.

  3. Yes, these days it seems like every federal agency has it's own armed agents. The SSA, HHS, the Dept. of Education, the USDA. At this point, I would not be surprised to hear that the OMB has it's own swat team. :(

  4. Maybe Obama and pals should use that in their campaigning. "We've created a boom in ammo and firearms sales with related employment! Why we just ordered a bunch of ammo!"

    Can't you just see that going over great at Handgun Control, Inc and the Brady Campaign! HA HA HA!!!!

  5. Medicare fraud is a growth sector for organized crime:

  6. Its effect in not only monetary. Here in NJ, a fire investigation was hindered for a few weeks because a dentist filed a false claim with Medicaid. A child that died in the fire could not be identified quickly because the dental record didn't match the reality on the body. Imagine the poor family.

  7. It's just occurred to me why so many of these agencies have their own law enforcement units. Who else would they use?

    Not the FBI, which is notoriously difficult to work with, and which historically prefers high profile, easy to solve cases (hence their notoriety in bank robberies (lots of witnesses) and kidnappings (2nd contact required to receive ransom, plus the victim is a likely witness)). Plus they have a high dollar threshold, if inflation adjusted, it would be $200K in today's dollars, which in this case too many Social Security and Medicare fraud cases will be under.

    You could also look at the old Army Air Force vs. an independent service branch question: there's a big difference between asking another agency to help you and being able to order your own people to investigate a situation. As it stands, they have to work the DoJ to prosecute, adding another party would just complicate things.

  8. Truly said Hal, i am agree with you and sad as well.