LOS ANGELES – A federal grand jury has charged a doctor who operated clinics in Westminster and Garden Grove with defrauding a COVID-19 program for uninsured patients by submitting more than a quarter billion dollars in claims – ultimately receiving about $150 million in payments – for services not covered under the program or simply not provided, the Justice Department announced today.
Anthony Hao Dinh, 64, of Newport Coast – a licensed doctor of osteopathy who was an ear, nose and throat specialist, as well as a facial plastic surgeon – was charged Wednesday in an 18-count indictment with defrauding the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) COVID-19 Uninsured Program.
Dinh was initially charged in this case in a criminal complaint filed April 10. Today’s indictment significantly expands the case by increasing the total amount of fraudulent claims allegedly submitted to HRSA, adding money laundering charges and further allegations about other schemes to defraud pandemic relief programs, and charging Dinh with obstructing the government’s investigation into improper health care billing.
The indictment charges Dinh 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. Dinh, who is free on a $7 million bond, is scheduled to be arraigned on the indictment on October 30 in United States District Court in Santa Ana.
This is the largest fraud scheme in the nation targeting the HRSA COVID-19 Uninsured Program uncovered at this time.
Two other defendants charged with Dinh in April also face new charges:
- Hanna (“Hang”) Trinh Dinh, 65, of Lake Forest, who is Dinh’s sister, has agreed to plead 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; and
- Matthew Hoang Ho, 66, of Melbourne, Florida, 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.
In relation to the fraud against HRSA, over the course of about nine months – from July 2020 to March 2021 – Dinh allegedly submitted fraudulent claims for the treatment of patients who were insured, services that were not rendered, and services that were not medically necessary. “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.”
The Uninsured Program was designed to prevent the further spread of the pandemic by providing access to uninsured patients for testing and treatment. The Uninsured Program was also designed to provide financial support to health care providers fighting the COVID-19 pandemic by reimbursing them for services provided to uninsured individuals.
In relation to the PPP and EIDL program, the indictment alleges that Dinh submitted, or caused to be submitted, approximately 65 fraudulent loan applications that sought nearly $8 million and caused the programs to disburse approximately $2.8 million in funds.
An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
If he were to be convicted in this case, Dinh would face up to 20 years in prison for the wire fraud and three of the money laundering charges, up to 10 years for two of the money laundering charges, and up to 20 years for the obstruction of justice charge that alleges he submitted false patient records in response to a grand jury subpoena.
The case against Dinh, his sister and Ho is being investigated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Inspector General; the FBI; IRS Criminal Investigation; the Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General; the Defense Criminal Investigative Service; the AMTRAK Office of Inspector General; and the California Department of Health Care Services.
Assistant United States Attorney Roger A. Hsieh of the Major Frauds Section, and Justice Department Assistant Chief Justin M. Woodard and Trial Attorney Helen H. Lee of the Fraud Section are prosecuting this case.