Laredo ophthalmologist charged in repetitive harmful eye procedure fraud scheme
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Texas
LAREDO, Texas - A 54-year-old Austin resident has been indicted for health care fraud and money laundering, announced U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani.
Dr. Michael Hochman made his initial appearance today and is set for arraignment Oct. 12 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Christopher dos Santos.
A federal grand jury returned the five-count indictment Sept. 27.
According to court documents, Hochman is an ophthalmologist who owned and operated Michael A. Hochman P.A. and Laredo Laser & Surgery Ltd. in Laredo.
The charges allege Hochman falsely diagnosed vulnerable patients with ophthalmological diseases and various degenerative eye conditions. Hochman allegedly directed optometry staff to conduct fraudulent, repetitive and excessive medical procedures on patients to maximize profits.
According to the indictment, Hochman caused Medicare and other health care benefit programs to remit payment for millions of dollars in proceeds into various corporate and personal bank accounts.
The false and fraudulent claims Hochman allegedly submitted to Medicare, Medicaid and Tricare totaled $402,536,174. As a result of the false and fraudulent claims, Medicare, Medicaid and Tricare paid approximately $13,317,914, according to the charges.
The indictment also alleges Hochman used the proceeds of the fraud scheme to purchase a private airplane, luxury vehicles, high-end antiques, collectible coins and other luxury items.
If convicted, Hochman faces up to 10 years in prison for one count of health care fraud. He also faces four counts of money laundering, which carries a penalty of up to 20 years imprisonment. All charges also carry a possible $250,000 maximum fine.
The FBI, Texas Attorney General’s Office - Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, Defense Criminal Investigative Services, Department of Health and Human Services – Office of Inspector General (OIG) and the Veteran Affairs – OIG conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tina Ansari, Cynthia Villanueva, Tyler White and Grace Murphy are prosecuting the case.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.
Updated October 5, 2023
Health Care Fraud