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A doctor in Orange County has reportedly been charged with stealing around $150 million from a federal program that was providing COVID-19 health services to patients who did not have insurance.
Anthony Hao Dinh, 64, from Newport Beach, operated clinics in Westminster and Garden Grove, per KTLA.
He is a licensed doctor of osteopathy who was previously an ear, nose, and throat specialist, as well as a facial plastic surgeon, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office of the Central District of California.
Dinh allegedly reeled in millions of dollars through fraudulent claims for reimbursement through the government's Health Resources and Services Administration's COVID-19 Uninsured Program. The Department of Justice noted that Dinh was the second-highest biller of the Uninsured Program.
The attorney's office specifically noted that Dinh has been charged with "12 counts of wire fraud, five counts of money laundering (with two of those charges alleging the transfer of more than $11 million to personal stock trading accounts) and one count of obstructing justice," adding that Dinh is currently out of jail on a $7 million bond.
He is set to be arraigned on the indictment on October 30 in the United States District Court for the Central District of California. The Los Angeles Times reported that Dinh was charged in a criminal complaint that came through in April.
Over the course of nine months, from July 2020 to March 2021, Dinh reportedly submitted a wave of fraudulent claims, including treating patients who already had insurance, claiming to provide services that were not actually provided, and following through with services that were not medically needed.
Court documents indicated that "as a result of these false and fraudulent claims, HRSA made payments to defendant Dinh, through [his medical] practices, in the approximate amount of $150 million."
Officials suggested that this is the "largest fraud scheme in the nation targeting the HRSA COVID-19 Uninsured Program uncovered at this time," according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Dinh has also been accused of sending in around 65 fraudulent loan applications, seeking nearly $8 million, per KTLA. The physician was provided almost $3 million in funds as a result.
If Dinh is convicted of the charges, he could face 10 years for two of the money laundering charges, 20 years for wire fraud and other money laundering charges, and 20 years for obstruction of justice, according to the Los Angeles Times.
However, he is not the only one who is being charged. There are two other defendants involved in the scheme, including Dinh's sister, Hanna Trinh Dinh, 65, who pleaded guilty to "conspiracy to commit wire fraud and admitted helping submit fraudulent Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) applications that sought more than $260,000 in COVID relief funds," according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
The second defendant is Matthew Hoang Ho, 66, from Melbourne, Florida, who was "charged on May 2 in a grand jury indictment with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud and money laundering in relation to the PPP and EIDL applications, and he is scheduled to go on trial on February 6, 2024."
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