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February 25, 2011

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HOUSTON, TX] – An indictment charging Hossein Lahiji, M.D., a McAllen urologist, and his wife, Najmeh Vahid Lahiji, of San Antonio, Texas, for allegedly defrauding Medicare and Medicaid has been unsealed, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.

Dr. Lahiji, 47, was arrested yesterday at Bush Intercontinental Airport upon arrival aboard a flight from Tehran, Iran. His wife, Vahid Lahiji,  35, surrendered today to law enforcement. Both have made their initial appearance before U. S. Magistrate Judge Frances H. Stacy and have been ordered release on a $100,000 cash secured ($2,500) bond. As an additional condition of bond, U. S. Magistrate Judge Stacy ordered that Dr. Lahiji is prohibited from billing any claims for services to either Medicare or Medicaid during the pendency of this Indictment.  The indictment was returned under seal on Jan. 11, 2011 and ordered unsealed today by the court. 

Dr. Lahiji and Najmeh Vahid Lahiji are accused in the nine count indictment of defrauding Medicare and Medicaid, two health care benefit programs, by submitting false and fraudulent claims for payment of urology services either performed by unlicensed and unqualified medical personnel or not rendered. According to the indictment, the Lahijis submitted claims to both Medicare and Medicaid for urology services purportedly performed by Hossein Lahiji, M.D. when, in fact, Hossein Lahiji, M.D. was traveling outside the State of Texas and/or outside the United States at the time of service. According to the indictment, individuals certified only as Medical Assistants (“M.A.’s”) were performing these “urology services” without any supervision from any physician or other qualified, licensed personnel in violation of protocols established by both Medicare and Medicaid.
The Lahijis each face a sentence of up to 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000, if convicted of health care fraud.
The investigation leading to the charges in this case was conducted by the FBI and the Texas Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.  Assistant United States Attorneys Carolyn Ferko and Jim McAlister are prosecuting the case.

An Indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until convicted through due process of law.

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