Clinic business

Two charged with $6 million Medicaid fraud at Houston pediatric dental clinic

A Houston dental clinic operator and manager have been indicted for their role in a health care fraud scheme involving $6 million in Medicaid claims.

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Court documents from the US Department of Justice are Ifeanyi Ndubisi Ozoh, 51, of Houston, was arrested on Thursday and made his first court appearance. The DOJ said Ozoh was the director of the Floss Family Dental Care Clinic, where Rene Gaviola, 65, also of Houston and operator of the clinic, was arrested Aug. 1 on similar charges.

The charges allege that Gaviola and other employees submitted false “fraudulent claims to Medicaid for dental services such as cavity fillings that were never provided as billed.” All of this allegedly happened while Ozoho was the director, whose court records indicate “bribes paid to merchants and caregivers of Medicare-insured children to bring them to Floss for dental services.”

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Additionally, Gaviola hired at least one person to practice pediatric dentistry, officials said, without a license and billed Medicaid for their services.

Other charges say Gaviola laundered Medicaid money from the clinic’s commercial bank to his personal bank through multiple transactions exceeding $100,000. In fact, the dental company reportedly billed Medicaid nearly $6.9 million for which Medicaid paid approximately $4.9 million from 2019 to 2021. Many of these services were not provided or administered by unauthorized and unregistered persons.

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If convicted, both men face up to five years in federal prison for conspiracy to pay and receive bribes. Gaviola also faces up to 10 years for conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud and each count of healthcare fraud and money laundering carries a maximum fine of $250,000.