Maryland dentist charged in alleged 5-year scheme to defraud Medicaid

A Maryland dentist, along with two others, allegedly paid kickbacks to recruit patients and obtained millions in Medicaid payments for services that weren't always delivered, according to a release from the United States Attorney's Office District of Maryland.

Edward Buford III, DDS, Kasandra Vilchez-Duarte and Donnie Amis have all been charged with conspiracy to violate the Anti-Kickback Statute and conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud and mail fraud.

Dr. Buford was the owner and CEO of Washington, D.C.-based International Dental Associates, which Ms. Vilchez-Duarte managed. In 2015, Medicaid suspended Dr. Buford as an individual provider, and Dr. Buford and Ms. Vilchez-Duarte submitted claims through IDA's Medicaid provider number. The indictment alleges that Dr. Buford and Ms. Vilchez-Duarte re-enrolled IDA in Medicaid in 2016 without disclosing the dentist's previous suspension.

From January 2013 to May 2018, Dr. Buford and Ms. Vilchez-Duarte allegedly paid kickbacks to Mr. Amis and others for referring Medicaid beneficiaries to IDA. Mr. Amis received larger cash kickbacks for beneficiaries who agreed to be fitted for dentures, the indictment alleges. According to the indictment, each recruited patient fitted for dentures received about $20, while those who agreed to a dental cleaning received $10. The beneficiaries typically only received the payment for the initial visit and many never returned after receiving the cash payment. Hundreds of undelivered dentures were found stored at IDA.

Medicaid paid more than $8 million in claims collectively submitted between January 2013 and May 2018, according to the indictment.

The defendants each face up to 25 years in prison. The defendants were released pending trial.

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