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Hickory Doctor Pleads Guilty To Health Care Fraud

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A doctor in Hickory pleaded guilty Monday to charging Medicare and Medicaid nearly half a million dollars in fraudulent reimbursement claims. It's the latest example of how the U.S. Attorney's office in Charlotte is building a reputation for being especially aggressive in prosecuting health care fraud.

Dr. Wayne Wilson is pleading guilty to running a seven-year fraud scheme at his family practice in Hickory. He billed Medicare and Medicaid for about half a million dollars worth of treatment that never happened.

The investigation is the work of a task force the U.S. Attorney's office in Charlotte coordinates. It includes federal and state investigators. And because it involves troves of billing data, it even has some accountants turned detectives.

Attorneys who specialize in health care fraud say the office has been raising its profile nationally. In the past year, it's helped reach two settlements worth roughly $100 million a piece with hospital systems.