Attorney General Roy Cooper is getting extra help to investigate Medicaid fraud in North Carolina after a successful year recovering funds from those accused of cheating the government medical program for the poor.
Cooper's office said Monday investigators recovered $53.5 million in the federal fiscal year ending Sept. 30, with 22 criminal convictions and 18 civil settlements. The state's Medicaid Investigations Unit recouped $43.6 million the year before and more than $400 million over the past decade.
Last year's largest recovery came when Pfizer paid $25.5 million in November 2009 -- resolving allegations the company paid kickbacks and marketed drugs for unapproved uses so it could sell more pharmaceuticals.
The state budget has money to nearly double the Medicaid unit with 25 attorneys and investigators.