3 former employees charged in $6M dental fraud scheme

A former operator and two managers of a pediatric dental practice in Texas were charged for their roles in a $6 million Medicaid fraud and kickback scheme.

Rene Gaviola, 67, was the operator of Floss Family Dental Care in Houston. Ifeanyi Ndubisi Ozoh, 51, and Christian Agno Aquino, 42, were managers at the practice. Mr. Gaviola and other employees allegedly submitted fraudulent claims to Medicaid for services not provided at the clinic or that licensed individuals did not conduct, according to a June 14 news release.

Mr. Gaviola, Mr. Ozoh and Mr. Aquino also allegedly paid kickbacks to marketers and caregivers to bring them to the practice for treatment. Mr. Gaviola also allegedly laundered more than $100,000 in Medicaid funds from the practice's bank account to his personal bank account. 

The dental practice allegedly billed Medicaid for nearly $6.9 million and received approximately $4.9 million from 2019 to 2021.

If convicted, the three face up to five years in prison for conspiracy to pay and receive kickbacks and 10 years for each count of payment of healthcare kickbacks, the release said. Mr. Gaviola and Mr. Aquino also face up to 10 years for each count of healthcare fraud and conspiracy. Mr. Gaviola faces up to 10 years in prison for each count of money laundering. They also face a possible fine of up to $250,000.

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