An Orange County SoCal doctor was charged with stealing $150 million from the Federal COVID Program, which provided services to uninsured patients.
Doctor Anthony Hao Dinh, 64, of Newport Coast, was charged after allegedly stealing funds by filing false claims for reimbursement under the Government’s COVID Uninsured Program.
Dinh’s alleged fraudulent claims were made between July 2020 and March 2021.
The doctor submitted false claims for treating his insured patients, services not actually rendered, and services “not medically necessary,” according to officials.
“As a result of these false and fraudulent claims, HRSA made payments to defendant Dinh, through [his medical] practices, in the approximate amount of $150 million,” according to court documents.
Under the program, doctors were allowed to claim reimbursements if their patients did not have insurance and were vaccinated or tested and treated for the virus.
Officials called the doctor’s false claims the “largest fraud scheme in the nation targeting the HRSA COVID-19 Uninsured Program uncovered at this time.”
Dinh is also accused of filing 65 fraudulent loan applications for the sum of almost $8 million.
The doctor received around $2.8 million in funds from the program.
The doctor has also been charged with money laundering, wire fraud, and obstruction of justice in relation to the COVID program.
He will be released on a $7 million bond, and an arraignment hearing is set for the end of October in US District Court in Santa Ana, CA.
If convicted, Dinh faces up to 20 years in prison.
Two other defendants involved in the scheme were also charged, including:
-Dinh’s sister, Hanna (“Hang”) Trinh Dinh, 65, of Lake Forest. She pleaded guilty in April to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and admitted to helping submit a fraudulent Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
-Matthew Hoang Ho, 66, of Melbourne, Florida, was charged on May 2 in a grand jury indictment with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud and money laundering in relation to the PPP and EIDL applications.
COVID-19 fraud became prevalent within the medical industry and Government throughout the pandemic.
Last year, IRS employees were charged with stealing COVID relief funds to finance lavish lifestyles.
According to the Department of Justice, current and former IRS employees in Tennessee and Mississippi stole thousands of dollars in COVID relief funds.
The bogus loan applications were made to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program to gain over $1 million in funds.
Court documents revealed that the funds were then used to finance extravagant lifestyles, such as trips to Las Vegas, new cars, and luxury goods.
“The IRS employees charged in these cases allegedly abused the trust placed in them by the public,” said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.
“The Criminal Division is committed to safeguarding that public trust and protecting pandemic relief programs for the American people.”
As The Daily Fetched reported earlier this year, Republican Senators Rand Paul and Joni Ernst launched an investigation into over $5.4 billion on pandemic loan fraud.
The inquiry came after the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee revealed that 5.4 billion in taxpayer funds were dispensed to “fraudsters.
“On January 30, 2023, the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee (PRAC) released a fraud alert detailing widespread fraud of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL),” Rand and Ernst wrote in the letter first obtained by Fox News Digital.
“Specifically, PRAC reviewed over 33 million applications and discovered 221,427 applications used fraudulent social security numbers.,” they wrote.
“Of those, 69,323 applications were issued EIDL and PPP loans, totaling over $5.4 billion in funds dispensed to fraudsters,” they added.
Ernst and Paul also demanded a review of the “nearly 70,000 PPP loans” and a review of the actions taken by the Small Business Administration, including its “automated and manual checks.”
As Fox News reported, the estimates of how much money went toward fraudulent claims are based on an analysis of the unemployment insurance system roughly in the first two years of the pandemic.