LAREDO, Texas (CN) – Married dentists must pay $686,545 after pleading guilty to submitting phony claims to Medicaid for work they supposedly did while they were in Hawaii or on their way to the U.S. Virgin Islands, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
Dr. Carlos Morales-Ryan, a dentist, and his orthodontist wife, Dr. Nelia Garcia-Morales, admitted they made false statements on Texas Medicaid claims, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement.
The couple owned and ran Orthogenesis International Centre in Laredo, which geared much of its business toward Medicaid eligible-children, prosecutors said.
“Applicable Texas law and Medicaid regulations required them to be in their offices when services were rendered on Medicaid patients as a prerequisite to receiving payment for the services from Medicaid,” prosecutors said in the statement.
But “Morales-Ryan’s signed plea agreement states that though he and Garcia-Morales were in Hawaii on or about Oct. 12, 2007, he falsely represented to Medicaid that he performed an evaluation and management of a new patient on that date claiming entitlement to payment,” prosecutors said.
Garcia-Morales “admitted that though she and Morales-Ryan were en route to the U.S. Virgin Islands on March 23, 2007, she falsely represented to Medicaid that she performed an orthodontic retention on that date claiming entitlement to payment,” prosecutors added.
Under terms of their plea deals, the couple will get 5 years probation and must pay $686,545 in restitution to Texas.
Morales-Ryan is no longer licensed to practice dentistry in Texas; he pleaded guilty in August 2009 to performing tummy tucks, breast augmentation and liposuction without the proper license, according the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.