Two Dallas-Area Residents Charged in Nationwide Medicare Fraud Strike Force Takedown
Total of 91 Defendants Charged with Submitting $295 Million in False Billings
|U.S. Attorney’s Office September 07, 2011|
DALLAS—A Dallas-area doctor appeared in federal court today on charges related to his alleged participation in a scheme to defraud the Medicare and Medicaid programs, announced the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services (HHS). His physician’s assistant, who joined the scheme at a later date, appeared in federal court with the doctor.
These charges are part of a nationwide takedown by Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations that led to charges against 70 defendants for their alleged participation in schemes to collectively submit more than $263.6 million in false billings to the Medicare program. As part of takedown operations last week, 18 additional defendants were charged in Detroit and one defendant was charged in Miami, in cases unsealed on Sept. 1, 2011, for their alleged roles involving Medicare fraud schemes involving approximately $29.4 million in fraudulent claims. This coordinated takedown involved the highest amount of false Medicare billings in a single takedown in Strike Force history.
“The defendants charged in this takedown are accused of stealing precious taxpayer resources and defrauding Medicare—jeopardizing the integrity of our health care system and our nation’s most critical health care program for personal gain,” said Attorney General Holder. “Our highly coordinated, nationwide Strike Force operations are working aggressively to combat Medicare fraud and our anti-health care fraud efforts have never been more innovative, collaborative, aggressive—or effective. We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners and partners across government to fight against health care fraud.”
U.S. Attorney Jacks said, “The Dallas Strike Force continues to aggressively root out and prosecute those involved in committing heath care fraud, which costs taxpayers, patients and private insurers millions of dollars each year. Health care fraud has infiltrated every layer of the health care industry, and in this case, as in many, a physician is allegedly at the core of the scheme. Health care providers should take heed—these strike forces mean business and are committed to prosecuting those who cheat the system.”
Physician Daniel K. Leong, 53, and his physician’s assistant, Cal Graves, 31, are charged in a seven-count indictment with conspiracy to commit health care fraud and health care fraud for their roles in a Medicare and Medicaid fraud scheme involving prescription drugs and diagnostic testing at their practice in the South Dallas Community Medical Center, on Martin Luther King Blvd.
Since their inception in March 2007, Strike Force operations in nine districts have obtained indictments of more than 1,140 individuals who collectively have falsely billed the Medicare program for more than $2.9 billion. In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.
The results of the nationwide takedown were announced today by Attorney General Holder, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, FBI Director Robert S. Mueller, Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division and Inspector General Daniel R. Levinson of the HHS Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG). The Dallas indictments were announced by U.S. Attorney James T. Jacks of the Northern District of Texas; Special Agent in Charge Robert E. Casey, Jr. of the FBI’s Dallas Field Office; Special Agent in Charge Mike Fields of the Dallas Regional Office of HHS-OIG, Office of Investigations; and the Texas Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU).
An indictment is merely a charge and defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. Leong and Graves are each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. In addition, Leong is charged with six substantive counts of health care fraud and Graves is charged with four substantive counts of health care fraud. If convicted, each count carries a maximum statutory sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. In addition, restitution could be ordered.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael McCarthy.
To learn more about the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), go to: www.stopmedicarefraud.gov.