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Two Houston clinic owners and an allegedly injured U.S. Postal Service employee have been indicted in federal court for 27 counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, kickbacks and money laundering in a multi-million dollar scheme involving allegedly injured postal workers, the U.S. Department of Justice announced on Thursday.
A federal grand jury in the Southern District of Texas in Houston returned the indictment on Nov. 2, against Anukul Dass, also known as Andy Dass, 41, and his sister Anurag Dass, also known as Anna Dass, 46, both of Houston, along with Stephen Vincent Hunt, 67, formerly of Houston and now of Waxahachie, Texas.
The Dass siblings operated A&A Pain and Wellness Center Inc. and from 2010 to 2017, the indictment alleges they filed false claims with the Office of Worker Compensation Programs for patients that Mr. Hunt directed to the clinic. Mr. Hunt was allegedly a former injured employee with the postal service who filed his own injury claim with that same office, according to a press release issued by the U.S. attorney’s office.
In return for Mr. Hunt’s referrals, the indictment alleges he would receive a fee as payment from the center for each claim paid by the office. OK Mr. Hunt also allegedly charged injured federal workers he referred a fee for his representation and services through a company he controlled under the name Zentec.
Anna Dass was the manager of clinical operations at A&A, while Anukul Dass was the director, according to the indictment. Anna Dass allegedly filed false claims for services which were not performed or were “upcoded” and billed at a higher rate than services actually performed.
From 2010 to 2017, A&A billed OWCP for more than $9.1 million. OWCP allegedly paid $7.2 million for those claims, according to the allegations.
If convicted of the conspiracy or the kickback allegations, each faces a penalty of up to five years in prison, according to the press release. The wire fraud carries a possible 20-year maximum sentence, while a conviction for money laundering could result in as much as 10 years imprisonment. All the charges also carry a possible fine of $250,000 per offense, according to the release.