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Texas urologist billed for patient care while in Iran.

Already facing trial for investing money in Iran, a Texas physician was indicted last week for over billing health insurers, sometimes charging for more work than a doctor can do in a day and other times billing for allegedly seeing patients while he was actually in Iran.

The fake billings went on for nine years until this February, when investigators closed in on Hossein Lahiji a urologist in McAllen. Texas.

A federal grand jury in Houston indicted Lahiji, 48, and his wife, attorney Najmeh Vahid Lahiji, last Thursday for healthcare fraud.

The Lahijis already had been indicted on charges of healthcare fraud in February 2011. And in December 2010, federal prosecutors in Portland, Oregon, accused the Iranian-American couple of illegally funneling more than $1.8 million to Iran where it was largely invested in property.


The latest indictment accuses the Lahijis of conspiring to defraud federal healthcare programs Medicare and Medicaid, as well as private providers Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Humana and United Healthcare.

The scheme involved specific days where Dr. Lahiji claimed to treat between 65 and 117 patients in a single workday --between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m., prosecutors said. Assuming no breaks at all over that period, that would mean he devoted an average of 5 minutes and 38 seconds per patient on some days.

Prosecutors say the Lahijis also submitted claims to healthcare providers for urology services performed when he had traveled outside Texas and the United States.

Prosecutors said Dr. Lahiji also falsely claimed some patients required the taking of comprehensive medical history, an unnecessary task in many circumstances, while in other instances where he billed he did not even perform the exam.

Thursday's indictment is the latest legal problem for the couple.

A 26-page federal indictment filed against the Iranian-American couple's daughter in Oregon alleges a nine-year money laundering scheme that illegally sent more than $1.8 million through a charity that provides aid to Iran.

Prosecutors say the Portland-based Child Foundation charity, which gives aid to other organizations, actually funneled money into Iranian bank accounts controlled by Lahiji and others that went toward investments, property acquisitions and services.

The charges against Lahiji in that case are still pending, with a trial date set for early 2013.

Lahiji and his wife were indicted on charges of healthcare fraud in federal court in Houston in February 2011. Thursday's indictment supersedes that case.
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Title Annotation:Diaspora: Around the globe
Publication:Iran Times International (Washington, DC)
Geographic Code:7IRAN
Date:Jun 8, 2012
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