The Perfect Enemy | Newport Coast doctor, LA lab owner accused in separate COVID billing fraud cases - OCRegister
May 14, 2024

Newport Coast doctor, LA lab owner accused in separate COVID billing fraud cases – OCRegister

Newport Coast doctor, LA lab owner accused in separate COVID billing fraud cases  OCRegisterView Full Coverage on Google News

An Orange County physician and a Los Angeles County lab owner are facing federal charges in separate cases for their alleged participation in fraud schemes involving healthcare services that exploited the COVID-19 pandemic and allegedly resulted in false billings to federal programs and theft from federally funded pandemic programs, officials announced Thursday.

Dr. Anthony Hao Dinh, 63, of Newport Coast, allegedly submitted fraudulent claims for treatment of patients who were insured, billed for services that were not rendered, and billed for services that were not medically necessary, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

He is scheduled to be arraigned in Santa Ana federal court on May 22. If convicted as charged, Dinh would face up to 50 years in prison, according to federal prosecutors.

“Dr. Dinh is alleged to have stolen from a taxpayer-funded program meant to provide COVID-related health care to uninsured patients,” U.S. Attorney Martin Estrada said in a statement.

“We will not tolerate stealing from the American people, and our prosecution of this large-scale scheme demonstrates our continued efforts to stop fraud of all sorts.”

Dinh is also charged with two others for allegedly submitting over 70 fraudulent loan applications under the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program and fraudulently obtaining over $3 million in loan funds, prosecutors said.

The other defendants named in the scheme are Dinh’s sister, Hang Trinh Dinh, 64, of Lake Forest, who is currently a fugitive being sought by federal authorities, and Matthew Hoang Ho, 65, of Melbourne, Florida. Anthony Dinh is charged in the complaint with health care fraud and two counts of wire fraud. Hang Dinh and Matthew Ho are each charged with one count of wire fraud, according to prosecutors.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Anthony Dinh was the second-highest biller in the country to the Health Resources and Services Administration COVID-19 Uninsured Program. The program was designed to prevent the further spread of the pandemic by providing access to uninsured patients for testing and treatment, and to provide financial support to healthcare providers fighting the COVID-19 pandemic by reimbursing them for services provided to uninsured individuals.

As a result of the scheme targeting the Uninsured Program, Anthony Dinh and his companies were paid more than $153 million, and he used fraud proceeds for high-risk options trading, losing over $100 million from November 2020 through February 2022, according to court documents.

In another case filed in the Central District of California, a Glendale lab owner was charged for allegedly submitting over $358 million in false and fraudulent claims to Medicare, the Health Resources and Services Administration, and a private insurance company for laboratory testing, federal prosecutors said Thursday.

Lourdes Navarro, 64, was charged in a superseding indictment with conspiracy to commit health care fraud and wire fraud, health care fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and making false statements, in connection with the operation of Matias Clinical Laboratory, Inc., also known as Health Care Providers Laboratory, a laboratory she operated, controlled and managed with her husband Imran Shams, according to prosecutors.

The indictment alleges that the defendant’s lab performed COVID-19 screening testing for nursing homes and other facilities with vulnerable elderly populations, as well as primary and secondary schools. But to increase its reimbursements, Navarro allegedly fraudulently added claims for respiratory pathogen panel tests even though ordering providers and facility administrators did not want or need them, prosecutors said.

Navarro was previously charged in an indictment returned in April 2022. The superseding indictment adds allegations that Navarro conspired with Shams and carried out a scheme to submit false and fraudulent claims to Medicare, the HRSA’s COVID-19 Uninsured Program, and an insurance company for respiratory pathogen panel testing that was not ordered, medically unnecessary, procured through illegal kickbacks and bribes, and ineligible for reimbursement.