Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli says his office’s effort to stop Medicaid fraud isn’t about dollars.

Cuccinelli told the Richmond Times-Dispatch (http://bit.ly/qdajOZ ) that the crackdown is about stopping criminal activity and making sure Virginians can trust the bills they get from health care providers.

Last year, the office's Medicaid Fraud Control unit recovered more than $15 million from fraudulent providers. The unit’s staff has increased from more than 40 employees to nearly 80 since Cuccinelli took office in 2010.

“We’ve set a policy that no criminal is too small for our attention,” he said. “So nobody thinks they're immune from our radar.”

Cuccinelli said the unit more than pays for itself because health care fraud has increased over the years. The unit’s funding comes largely from federal money and funds received from settlements with providers.

Cuccinelli’s office also is targeting elder abuse. He estimated that only one in five cases of abuse and neglect are reported in Virginia. More than 17,000 cases of elder abuse are documented each year in the state.

“We’re preparing for the demographic coming of an explosion of elderly,” he said. “In Virginia, the fact of the matter is that our caseload is more than we have manpower for.”

An effort to educate seniors on elder abuse and Medicaid fraud is underway by the Attorney General’s Office and more than 200 Triad chapters across Virginia. Triad is a joint effort between seniors groups, local law enforcement and the attorney general’s office to raise the awareness of seniors.