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Press Release

Hearing Aid Dealer Sentenced to 4 Years in Prison for 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, announced that DENNIS DELLAGHELFA, 54, of Waterbury, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Alvin W. Thompson in Hartford to 48 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for 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.

Judge Thompson ordered Dellaghelfa to pay restitution of $6,141,857 to the Connecticut Medicaid program.  As part of his restitution obligation, Dellaghelfa agreed to forfeit $332,675 held in personal and business bank accounts.

On February 9, 2023, Dellaghelfa pleaded guilty to health care fraud.

Dellaghelfa, who is released on bond, is required to report to prison on October 10.

This investigation was conducted 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 Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the Connecticut Chief State’s Attorney’s Office and the Waterbury Police Department.  The case was 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 September 6, 2023

False Claims Act
Health Care Fraud