Ken Paxton

Monday, October 22, 2007

Occupational Therapist, Dentist Arrested, Both Indicted on Medicaid Fraud Charges

HOUSTON Officers with Attorney General Greg Abbott’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit have arrested two Houston-area health care providers for defrauding the Medicaid and Medicare systems. The indictments handed down last week charge occupational therapist, Albert C. Albert, 55, of Missouri City and dentist Vu Tuan Tran, 40, of Spring with illegally billing and receiving reimbursements from the government health care programs.

"These defendants are charged with illegally billing the taxpayers for services that were never actually provided," said Attorney General Abbott. "Contractors who profit from doing business with the government have an obligation to fairly and accurately bill the taxpayers for their work. The Office of the Attorney General will continue investigating and prosecuting waste, fraud and abuse in the Medicaid system."

Attorney General Abbott added, "We are grateful to Harris County District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal Jr. for his assistance in this case."

From February 1999 to February 2004, Albert, who operates two occupational therapy clinics, Skillcare Rehabilitation Services and Nelbat Rehabilitation Services, billed Medicare and Medicaid more than $5 million. Of that amount, Albert is suspected of receiving more than $170,000 in fraudulent reimbursements for services never performed. He is charged with first-degree felony theft by a governmental contractor.

Tran, the owner of Dental Concerns in Spring, billed Medicaid for a variety of dental services to young children that evidence indicates were never provided. Between November 2002 and December 2005 Tran received $1.15 million in government reimbursements. Of that amount, authorities believe $23,000 was fraudulently billed. He is charged with second-degree felony theft by a governmental contractor.

In 2006 alone, the Texas Medicaid program cost more than $17 billion. As the state’s chief law enforcement official, Attorney General Abbott has dramatically expanded the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit to save taxpayer dollars by rooting out waste, fraud and abuse in the Medicaid system.

The unit has established field offices in Corpus Christi, Dallas, El Paso, Houston, Lubbock, McAllen, San Antonio and Tyler through authorization and funding from the 78th Legislature. It works with federal, state and local agencies across the state to identify and prosecute those who defraud the Medicaid program.