The federal government does not look kindly on Medicare fraud. Not only do false claims adversely affect the public, but this kind of cheating is also extremely expensive, involving hundreds of millions of dollars in false billings. In short, it is illegal to defraud the government and its healthcare programs, and imprisonment is a possible penalty. Defendants might include physicians, pharmacists, home healthcare providers and others in the medical field. Fines can escalate to many thousands of dollars, and even if those convicted do not have to serve time, they can expect to lose their licenses.