- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 8, 2006

The owner of a D.C. dental clinic is facing more than 50 years in prison after her indictment on federal health care fraud charges in a purported scheme to bilk insurance companies for procedures never performed.

Prosecutors said Afsaneh Tehrani, owner of D.C. Dentistry Inc., was not a dentist and submitted phony insurance claims from 1997 until last year, when authorities raided the company offices. D.C. Dentistry is located at 1712 I St. NW, Suite 910.

Miss Tehrani, 47, of McLean, pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court after her arrest last week on charges of health care fraud and making false statements.

She was indicted Thursday.

The FBI has seized $148,000 from Miss Tehrani’s bank accounts.

The indictment against Miss Tehrani states that she submitted false claims to insurance companies for work never performed or engaged in double-billing for procedures.

A search warrant affidavit filed in October states that D.C. Dentistry billed one insurance company more than $100,000 from October 2002 to February 2003 under the group beneficiary name Copyright Printing.

Copyright Printing’s manager told authorities he had only three employees with health insurance and never had dealings with D.C. Dentistry, court records show.

Yet the FBI affidavit shows that D.C. Dentistry submitted dozens of claims for services provided to the office manager of the company in 2002.

An attorney for Miss Tehrani was not available for comment yesterday.

D.C. officials said they were shocked by the charges.

“Should these charges be true, I am shocked by the extent of Ms. Tehrani’s crimes in her attempt to defraud the insurance agencies,” said Thomas E. Hampton, commissioner of the D.C. Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking. “This case reiterates that some people are becoming more creative in perpetuating different types of fraud.”

Mr. Hampton’s office helped investigate the case.

Financial records examined by investigators show D.C. Dentistry deposited more than $4.9 million in various accounts from 2001 to 2004.

Authorities also said they learned of a letter to another insurance company signed by a woman identifying herself as “Maria” that indicated questionable billing practices at the office.

“Hey, I worked with these people in a dentist office in Washington and they were cheating all the insurance [companies] of the patients they saw,” the letter states.

A dentist who cooperated in the investigation told the FBI that he was encouraged to conduct unnecessary dental procedures, the FBI affidavit shows.

Court records show that Miss Tehrani listed herself as director, president, vice president, secretary and treasurer of D.C. Dentistry. The company hired dentists on a contract basis, the indictment said.

Authorities also said in charging documents that Miss Tehrani falsely claimed that a water leak destroyed patient records.

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