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Press Release

Hearing Aid Dealer Pleads Guilty to Health Care Fraud

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Connecticut

Vanessa Roberts Avery, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, Jean Pierre Njock, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the New Haven Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Phillip Coyne, Special Agent in Charge for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, announced that DENNIS DELLAGHELFA, 53, of Waterbury, waived his right to be indicted and pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Alvin W. Thompson in Hartford to health care fraud.

According to court documents and statements made in court, Dellaghelfa is a licensed hearing instrument specialist and the owner of General Hearing, a Waterbury-based hearing aid dealer.  Since approximately 2013, General Hearing has been a participating provider enrolled in the Connecticut Medical Assistance Program (CTMAP), Connecticut Department of Social Services-administered program that provides medical assistance to low income persons.  CTMAP’s benefit packages, referred to as “HUSKY” or “Connecticut Medicaid,” are jointly funded by the State of Connecticut and the federal government.

From approximately June 2016 to April 2022, Dellaghelfa submitted, or caused to be submitted, false and fraudulent claims for payment for services and equipment that were not provided or were medically unnecessary.  For example, in November 2018, Dellaghelfa submitted claims to Connecticut Medicaid for services provided to six patients during a period of time that Dellaghelfa was traveling outside the U.S.  In 2019 and 2020, some of the fraudulent claims involved services that were purportedly provided by his three employees.  However, Dellaghelfa knew that the employees performed hearing tests without having the required professional permit, and submitted paperwork for hearing tests and services that did not occur or were not medically necessary.

In addition, in violation of the CTMAP provider agreement, Dellaghelfa paid third-party “patient recruiters” for each Medicaid patient they brought to General Hearing for a hearing test, and that then failed the hearing test and received hearing aids.  He also submitted false claims to Connecticut Medicaid for testing and hearing aids for five of the patient recruiters who did not need hearing aids.

As part of his plea agreement, Dellaghelfa has agreed to make restitution of $6,141,857 to the Connecticut Medicaid program.  As part of his restitution obligation, Dellaghelfa has agreed to forfeit $332,675 currently held in personal and business bank accounts.

Dellaghelfa pleaded guilty to one count of health care fraud, an offense that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years.  Judge Thompson scheduled sentencing for May 16.

Dellaghelfa is released pending sentencing.

This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General (HHS-OIG), with the assistance of the Waterbury Police Department.

The matter is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Heather L. Cherry and Elena L. Coronado.

People who suspect health care fraud are encouraged to report it by calling 1-800-HHS-TIPS.

Updated February 9, 2023

Asset Forfeiture
Health Care Fraud