Anukul “Andy” Dass and his sister, Anurag “Anna” Dass, the operators of a Texas-based pain clinic, will soon be visiting federal court following their indictment on 27 counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, kickbacks, and money laundering. A third (unrelated) co-conspirator has already turned himself in to federal authorities.
The pair operated A & A Pain and Wellness Center Inc. (“A & A”) in southwest Houston and are accused of filing false claims with the Federal Office of Worker Compensation Programs (OWCP) to the tune of $9.1 million from 2010 to 2017. Anna Dass acted as the clinic’s manager of operations while Andy Dass served as its director.
The OWCP administers four major disability compensation programs that provide wage replacement benefits, medical treatment, vocational rehabilitation and other benefits to certain workers. Among those programs is the Federal Employees’ Compensation Program, which covers some three million federal and postal workers around the world for employment-related injuries and occupational diseases.
The Dass siblings are accused of conspiring with Stephen Hunt, a former postal worker, in a scheme to file false claims with OWCP for patients that Hunt directed to the clinic. In exchange for the referrals, Hunt received a kickback from A&A. Hunt is also alleged to have charged injured federal workers that he referred to A & A, a fee for his “representation and services.” According to the indictment, Anna Dass filed false claims for services that were not performed or were “upcoded” and billed at a higher rate than the services that were actually performed.
The conspiracy was uncovered following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General in conjunction with the United States Postal Service Office of Inspector General.
If convicted of the conspiracy or the kickback allegations, each of the defendants faces up to five years in prison. The money laundering charges could bring up to 10 years in prison, while the wire fraud carries a possible 20-year maximum sentence. All of the charges also carry a possible fine of $250,000.