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

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

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Court documents from the U.S. Department of Justice is Ifeanyi Ndubisi Ozoh, 51, of Houston was arrested Thursday and made his first court appearance. The DOJ said Ozoh was the manager of Floss Family Dental Care Clinic, where Rene Gaviola, 65, also of Houston and the clinic’s operator, was arrested on August 1 on similar charges. 

The charges claim Gaviola and other employees submitted fake “and fraudulent claims to Medicaid for dental services such as cavity fillings that were never provided as billed.” All of this occurred reportedly while Ozoho was the manager, who court records say “paid kickbacks to marketers and caregivers of children Medicare insures 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.  

Further charges say Gaviola laundered Medicaid monies from the clinic’s business bank to his personal bank through several transactions exceeding $100,000. In fact, the dental company allegedly billed Medicaid for nearly $6.9 million for which Medicaid paid about $4.9 million from 2019 to 2021. Many of those services were not provided or that unlicensed and non-enrolled individuals administered. 

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If convicted, both men could face up to five years in federal prison for conspiracy to pay and receive kickbacks. Gaviola also faces up to 10 years for conspiracy to commit health care fraud and each count of health care fraud and money laundering, which carry a possible $250,000 maximum fine. 

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