HOUSTON — Two Houston men both employed in dentistry were arrested for their roles in a healthcare fraud scheme totaling almost $7 million in false charges, officials said.
Ifeanyi Ndubisi Ozoh and Rene Fernandez Gaviola of Houston both worked at Floss Family Dental Care as a manager and operator, respectively, when they filed false claims to Medicaid for various dental services that were never performed.
Federal authorities said the scheme lasted from 2019 to 2021 and billed Medicaid for nearly $6.9 million with Medicaid paying out $4.9 million.
In addition to many services not provided, Gaviola allegedly employed an individual to conduct pediatric dentistry without a license and billed the customer using the service provided by them, officials said.
The 51-year-old Ozoh was arrested on Aug. 18 while the 65-year-old Gaviola was arrested on Aug. 1 for similar charges, according to federal authorities.
Gaviola and Ozoh are also accused of paying kickbacks to marketers and caregivers of children Medicare recipients to bring them to their clinic for services.
Federal authorities said services that were provided were performed by those unlicensed.
Officials said the indictment against Gaviola alleges he laundered the ill-gotten Medicaid funds from the clinic’s business account to his personal with multiple transactions, totaling more than $100,000.
If convicted, the pair face up to five years in federal prison for conspiracy to pay and receive kickbacks. Gaviola additionally faces up to 10 years if convicted on conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud and each count of healthcare fraud and money laundering, officials said.
All charges carry a maximum fine of $250,000, said officials.