Tuesday, February 21, 2006
Attorney General Abbott's Medicaid Fraud Team Arrests Houston Clinic Owner Following IndictmentHOUSTON – Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, assisted by the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, arrested former rehabilitation clinic owner Charles Omorui Ihaza, 50. The arrest followed a grand jury indictment charging him with felony theft for illegally billing Medicaid $156,000 for treatments never rendered.
Ihaza formerly operated Charleston Rehabilitation at 104 W. Milam in Wharton and Charleston Rehabilitation, Behavioral Counseling and Vocational Education (RBCVE) clinic at 7457 Harwin Drive in Houston. Ihaza purported to treat those in need of chemical dependency treatment and mental/behavioral counseling, many of them Medicaid-eligible children. Ihaza was indicted on Feb. 15. His bond was set at $260,000 following his arrest on Friday.
“Our investigators will ceaselessly pursue those who exploit needy children and the Medicaid system in schemes to enrich themselves,” said Attorney General Abbott. “We will fight to have every penny of money stolen from taxpayers returned to the Medicaid program.”
Of the $156,000 Ihaza billed Medicaid, he received $132,000 in illegal reimbursements for counseling at Charleston Rehabilitation from October 2004 to January 2005. The Attorney General’s investigators interviewed a psychologist and a licensed counselor whom Ihaza claimed worked for him as providers. Both filed affidavits saying they never worked for Ihaza. Investigators also talked to parents whose children Ihaza claimed to have counseled. The parents said the children received no counseling, but rather watched movies, ate snacks and engaged in minor arts and crafts projects.
Ihaza’s illegal activities at Charleston RBCVE, supposedly a chemical dependency treatment clinic, involved group counseling sessions that were billed as individual counseling, a scheme designed to inflate reimbursements. InApril 2005, Ihaza illegally billed Medicaid $11,374 and received almost $11,000 in reimbursement.
The case against Ihaza is being prosecuted by Harris County Assistant District Attorney Lester Blizzard.
To obtain more information about the Attorney General’s efforts to fight Medicaid fraud, access the agency’s Web site at www.texasattorneygeneral.gov.