In handcuffs and escorted by FBI agents, Earnest Gibson found himself caught in a nationwide net.
"Over the last 24 months, we've had a coordinated effort and record number of takedowns," US Attorney General Eric Holder said.
In Houston, Gibson is the president of Riverside General Hospital. He, his son Earnest Gibson Jr. and four others were arrested Thursday morning. They're accused of conspiring to bilk the federal government out of millions of dollars through fraudulent Medicare billing.
FOX 26 legal analyst Chris Tritico said tackling Medicare fraud has long been the focus of President Barack Obama. The arrests at Riverside send a strong message.
Riverside has been the target of a federal probe since February. A lower level hospital administrator, Mohammed Khan, pleaded guilty to Medicare fraud. Federal and state agents hauled of boxes of records from Houston's first African-American hospital.
"This is the tip of the iceberg," Tritico said.
Gibson, his son and the other defendants pleaded not guilty and were released on $75,000 bond each, but the battle to stay free is far from over. They are scheduled to be back in court Dec. 3 and their trial is set for Dec. 10.
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