Dallas Chiropractors Indicted in Staged Accident Health Care Fraud – Fraud Speaker Chuck Gallagher Comments

September 20, 2008

Every honorable profesison has it’s “bad apples.”  I can speak those words as truth – as I too have brought shame to my former profession.  But, as I say often in my speaking presentations – EVERY CHOICE HAS A CONSEQUENCE!

According to the US Attorney in the Northern District of Texas, two chiropractors, who operated clinics in Arlington and Haltom City, Texas, were indicted this week on charges related to their participation in a staged accident scheme.  Minh Huynh, also known as Michael Huynh, 37, was charged with three counts of health care fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and one count of mail fraud. Thien Tuan Vo, also known as T.T. Vo, also 37, is charged with one count of health care fraud.

According to the indictment, participants in staged accidents, or “accident clients,” would enter into an agreement with a law firm for that law firm to process and submit claims to insurance companies arising from the staged accidents. The law firm would refer the accident clients to chiropractors, including Huynh and Vo, who would create false and fraudulent treatment and billing records for the accident clients that would falsify and inflate the number of treatments the accident clients received. Huynh and Vo would submit the bogus treatment and billing records to the firm for submission to insurance companies. When a settlement check was received, the firm would issue checks to itself, the chiropractors and the accident clients.

In most frauds the guilty party gets involved slowly.  There are three components to most any fraud: (1) need; (2) opportunity and (3) rationalization.  While I don’t know these men, my guess (from years of experience) is that they started small and found out that others would collude to make the fraud work.  Staged accidents frauds are common and most are discovered.

The indictment further alleges that Huynh paid kickbacks to a legal assistant at a law firm for each client referred to him. It was agreed that the amount of the kickback would be a portion, ranging from 30% – 50%, of the settlement funds paid to the chiropractor from the law firm. Huynh would routinely inflate billings to compensate for the kickbacks he agreed to pay for the referrals. The Settlement Disbursement form the firm provided to its clients, along with their settlement check, concealed and failed to disclose the kickback arrangement and deprived the clients of their full recovery from the settlement.

While an indictment is an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty, rarely does a grand jury issue an indictment without a guilty verdict.

Every choice has a consequence.  It’s sad that these two taint the profession, but it is important to not that they (if guilty) are not the norm.  Unfortunately health care fraud is rampant.  Choices and consequences – you do reap what you sow.

For information on business ethics or fraud awareness presentations visit my web site – www.chuckgallagher.com

Arlington, Texas Appraiser – Gandhi Ben Morka – Sentenced to 5 Years! Comments by Business Ethics Speaker Chuck Gallagher

January 28, 2008

False appraisals for property purchased in the Dallas / Fort Worth area lands Gandhi Ben Morka a 60 months federal prison sentence and a $2.3 million restitution bill!


Background: Seems that Morka, age 52, from Arlington, TX was convicted on one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, four counts of wire fraud and two counts of mail fraud. The government presented evidence at trial that Morka conspired to defraud Countrywide by locating single family residences in and around the Dallas, Texas area that were for sale and recruiting straw purchasers and borrowers to purchase the targeted residences. Then Morka would prepare appraisals on the properties, inflating the value to an amount far greater than the fair market value, double in most instances.

Every choice has a consequence. As a business ethics speaker, (www.chuckgallagher.com) I find that more and more as I speak to financial institutions the theme of mortgage fraud rears its ugly head. There are three components to most frauds: (1) need or perceived need; (2) opportunity; and (3) rationalization. As we entered the era of easy credit and sub-prime mortgages, there was almost too much opportunity and without effective controls in place the landscape was ripe for fraud.

Now as we see the pendulum swing the other way the crimes that have been committed are coming to light. Morka has been in the custody of the bureau of prisons since his conviction in late August, ’07. With the time he will be facing, he will be able to reflect on the effectiveness of doing a proper appraisal – although that service he will likely be prohibited from ever doing again.

Business Ethics Speaker – Chuck Gallagher – signing off…