An Orange County doctor was charged with stealing around $150 million from a federal program providing COVID-19 health services to uninsured patients.
Anthony Hao Dinh, 64, from Newport Coast operated clinics in Westminster and Garden Grove. He is a licensed doctor of osteopathy who was an ear, nose and throat specialist, as well as a facial plastic surgeon, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Dinh allegedly stole millions of dollars by submitting claims for reimbursement under the Health Resources and Services Administration’s COVID-19 Uninsured Program.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides claims reimbursement to healthcare providers for testing, treating or administering vaccines to uninsured patients for COVID.
From July 2020 to March 2021, Dinh allegedly submitted false claims for treating patients who were already insured, services not actually rendered, and services that were not medically necessary, officials said.
“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,” according to court documents.
Officials said this is the “largest fraud scheme in the nation targeting the HRSA COVID-19 Uninsured Program uncovered at this time.”
Dinh is also accused of submitting around 65 fraudulent loan applications seeking nearly $8 million. The programs disbursed around $2.8 million in funds to Dinh.
Dinh was 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.
Dinh was released on a $7 million bond. An arraignment hearing is scheduled for Oct. 30 in the U.S. District Court in Santa Ana.
If convicted, Dinh faces 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.
Two other defendants also involved in the scheme were charged including:
-Dinh’s sister, Hanna (“Hang”) Trinh Dinh, 65, of Lake Forest. She pleaded guilty in April to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and admitted helping submit fraudulent Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan applications that sought more than $260,000 in COVID relief funds.
-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. A trial date is scheduled for Feb. 6, 2024.
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