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Press Release

Unlicensed Dentist Sentenced To 2 Years In Prison For Healthcare Fraud, Conspiracy To Commit Healthcare Fraud, And Conspiracy To Violate The Anti-Kickback Statute

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that LUIS OMAR VARGAS, an unlicensed dentist, was sentenced to two years in prison for defrauding health insurance companies by billing for false claims, billing for claims performed by him as an unlicensed provider, and for conspiring to pay kickbacks to his patients.  VARGAS was convicted after two-week jury trial before U.S. District Judge Ronnie Abrams, who imposed today’s sentence. 

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “Luis Omar Vargas and his co-defendants devised a scheme to defraud insurance companies by charging them for services never performed.  In addition, Vargas, who is not a licensed dentist, charged insurance companies for services he was not even licensed to perform.  Now Vargas will spend time in prison for his financial crimes.”

According to allegations in the Indictment and evidence introduced at trial:

From 2012 through November 2017, in the Southern District of New York and elsewhere, VARGAS and others conspired and participated in a scheme to defraud insurance providers of more than $2 million.  VARGAS and others induced patients to be seen at a dental clinic on the Upper West Side of Manhattan by offering patients a $25 cash kickback.  Once the patients were in the door, VARGAS and his co-conspirators charged insurance companies for services that were never performed and for services performed by VARGAS that he was not licensed to perform.

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In addition to the prison term, VARGAS, 46, of Roselle, New Jersey, was sentenced to two years of supervised release and ordered to pay $959,150 in restitution.

Co-defendant Dr. Mehmet Dikengil, 71, pled guilty on September 13, 2018, to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, one count of health care fraud, and one count of conspiracy to violate the Anti-Kickback statute, and was sentenced on January 25, 2019, to two years in prison.  Anna Jones, 60, pled guilty on August 14, 2018, to one count of theft of government funds, and was sentenced on February 14, 2019, to three years of probation.

 Mr. Berman praised the outstanding investigative work of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services-Office of Inspector General in this investigation.

This case is being handled by the Office’s General Crimes Unit.  Assistant United States Attorneys Alexandra N. Rothman, Ryan B. Finkel, and Kristy J. Greenberg are in charge of the prosecution.

Updated April 5, 2019

Financial Fraud
Health Care Fraud
Press Release Number: 19-114