4 Houston medical workers charged in $32M health care fraud scheme

$100 bill (Pixlr)

HOUSTON – Four Hillcroft Physician medical workers, including a medical director and operator, are in custody in connection with a $32 million health care fraud scheme, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced.

Farrah Forough Farizani, 57; Hamid Reza Razavi, 60; Elie Hanna Hajjar, 48; and Juan Acuña, 64, have been charged with conspiracy to commit health care fraud. Farizani, Razavi and Hajjar are also charged with five counts of making false statements relating to health care matters.

According to court documents, the four medical workers are accused of submitting false and fraudulent claims to Medicaid and Medicare for services that were not provided as billed or were not provided by a licensed, qualified and enrolled provider. The four are also accused of misleading patients and staff to believe that Hajjar and Acuña were licensed to practice medicine in Texas.

Farizani and Razavi are also accused of directing Hajjar and Acuña to pose as licensed medical professionals, according to the indictment.

Hajjar and Acuña are accused of examining, diagnosing, treating, referring and prescribing drugs for patients, many of whom were non-English-speaking Medicaid clients.

Farizani and Razavi are also accused of directing Hillcroft Physicians’ billing staff to submit false claims to Medicaid and Medicare as though Farizani had seen and treated the patients, even when Farizani was out of the country.

According to the indictment, the group submitted $31 million in claims to Medicaid, in which Medicaid paid $12.2 million. They are also accused of submitted $600,000 in claims to Medicare, in which Medicare paid $250,000.