Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Scott J. Lampert, the Special Agent in Charge of the New York Regional Office of the United States Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (“HHS-OIG”), announced the arrests of MEHMET DIKENGIL, ANNA JONES, and LUIS OMAR VARGAS for their participation in a scheme to defraud Medicaid of more than $400,000. DIKENGIL, the owner of Dental Express Broadway, P.C., a dental clinic located in upper Manhattan, employed JONES, an officer manager, and VARGAS, an unlicensed dental provider, in furtherance of the health care fraud, which involved billing Medicaid for dental services that were not provided to patients. DIKENGIL and VARGAS were arrested this morning in New Jersey. JONES was arrested this morning in Queens, New York. The defendants will be presented later today in Manhattan federal court before Chief Magistrate Judge Debra Freeman.
Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said: “As alleged, these defendants, including a licensed dentist, defrauded Medicaid time and again by billing for services that were never provided. Together with our law enforcement partners, we will aggressively prosecute those who defraud federal programs that provide care for low income New Yorkers.”
HHS-OIG Special Agent-in-Charge Scott J. Lampert: “Health providers, including an unqualified ‘dentist,’ allegedly siphoned money from the vital Medicaid program to pay for services not needed or never delivered. Patients and taxpayers need to know that suspected government health program fraud will be investigated and prosecuted.”
According to the Complaint unsealed in federal court:
From at least January 2017, up to and including November 2017, DIKENGIL, a licensed dentist and owner of Dental Express Broadway, P.C. (the “Dental Clinic”), JONES, the office manager at the Dental Clinic, and VARGAS, an unlicensed dental provider at the Dental Clinic, engaged in a health care fraud conspiracy. In furtherance of the fraud, the defendants submitted numerous reimbursement claims to Medicaid for having provided Medicaid patients with dental services, when, in fact, they did not provide such services. Patients were recruited to the Dental Clinic where they were paid kickbacks of $25 to undergo minimal dental procedures. The Dental Clinic then billed Medicaid for any dental services provided to the patients, as well as for additional dental services that were not provided. In addition, VARGAS, although not licensed as a dentist, performed dental work and then billed Medicaid under DIKENGIL’s name. In total, the Dental Clinic submitted fraudulent Medicaid claims totaling more than $400,000.
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The Complaint charges MEHMET DIKENGIL, 69, of Chester, New Jersey, ANNA JONES, 59, of Queens, New York, and LUIS OMAR VARGAS, 45, of Roselle, New Jersey, with conspiracy to commit health care fraud and health care fraud. The maximum sentence on each count is 10 years in prison. The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the judge.
Mr. Kim praised the investigative work of HHS-OIG. Mr. Kim also thanked the New York City Human Resources Administration for their assistance during the investigation.
This case is being handled by the Office’s General Crimes Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexandra N. Rothman is in charge of the prosecution.
The charges contained in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.