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Health care fraud investigation results in two Austin arrests

Two Austin psychologists and a Houston physician are among the more 35 Texans charged in what federal prosecutors say is the largest medical fraud investigation in the Department of Justice’s history. More than 400 people nationwide are accused of improperly prescribing and distributing opioids and other powerful drugs.

Among those facing charges of health care fraud are a father and son pair of Austin psychologists, 72 and 32 years old, according to newspaper reports.

According to Justice Department officials, the fraud fleeced the federal government out of approximately $1.3 billion nationwide.

About 50 of the 412 charged are accused of billing Medicare or Medicaid or another federal program for drugs that were not purchased or for treatments that were not performed.

The scheme also involved kickbacks to people who supplied health care providers with beneficiary information. The providers then allegedly used that information for other false billings.

The Austin psychologists were indicted on 7 counts each of health care fraud. They each also face 6 counts of aggravated ID theft and 5 counts of paying illegal kickbacks, among other allegations. If they are convicted on all charges, they could each face more than a century in federal prison, according to the news report.

The report also states that more than $100 million of the false billings originated in Texas, while 26 defendants were charged in the Southern District of Texas.

If you believe you are under investigation in matters involving overbilling, kickbacks, performing unneeded medical procedures or similar concerns, you can speak with an attorney experienced in all aspects of administrative and criminal proceedings.