(STL.News) – A Macomb County doctor was charged in a criminal complaint for his alleged role in a health care fraud scheme which involved submitting false claims to Medicare for services that were never rendered and/or were medically unnecessary, announced United States Attorney Matthew Schneider.
Joining in the announcement were Special Agent in Charge Steven M. D’Antuono, Federal Bureau of Investigation and Special Agent in Charge Lamont Pugh, Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG).
Charged is Dr. Charles Mok, 56, of Washington, Michigan.
United States Attorney Schneider stated ”Dr. Mok is charged with exploiting the current pandemic to defraud the Medicare program, and putting the safety and health of his patients at risk in doing so. These are serious allegations, and my office is committed to prosecuting any medical professional who attempts to use the Covid-19 crisis to defraud patients or insurers.”
“Dr. Mok’s alleged behavior goes beyond taking advantage of fears surrounding COVID-19 to profit illegally,” said SAC D’Antuono. “The FBI has sworn to protect American citizens under any circumstances and we will vigorously investigate anyone who is alleged to put profit over patient safety or who provided questionable treatments as a way to defraud the Medicare system.”
“We are committed to investigating those who exploit the ongoing public health crisis for financial gain,” said HHS OIG Special Agent in Charge Lamont Pugh. “Such actions threaten the integrity of federal health and human service programs and the health of Americans who rely on these programs.”
According to the complaint, Dr. Mok operates Allure Medical Spa, PLLC. Its principal place of business is at 8180 26 Mile Road, Shelby Township. MI 48316. Allure operates twenty-six outpatient clinics specializing in varicose vein treatments in eight different states with at least six clinics within the State of Michigan.
The complaint alleges Dr. Mok submitted false and fraudulent claims to Medicare for treatment of varicose veins by submitting claims for injections of Varithena in veins which had previously been ablated. The complaint alleges that once an ablation is done on a patient, there is no need for additional treatments including a Varithena injection. The complaint also alleges that some of the procedures were also medically unnecessary as numerous patients received up to 19 Varithena injections per leg and/or up to 12 ablations per leg, well beyond what is medically necessary to treat their conditions.
The complaint further alleges that Dr. Mok submitted false and fraudulent claims to Medicare for high-dose intravenous vitamin C infusions to patients at risk of contracting COVID-19, especially those working on the frontlines, and to those who tested positive for COVID-19. The infusions were primarily performed at Allure’s Shelby Township location. While the office had standard protocols to isolate patients who were positive for COVID-19, the complaint alleges that those protocols were not strictly followed, and on numerous occasions, COVID-19 positive patients were comingled with healthy patients, including those scheduled for non-essential elective procedures, in Allure’s one waiting room.
In multiple launch videos, Dr. Mok claimed that Allure offered the infusions because vitamin C reduces the severity of symptoms, duration of illness, and therefore the contagiousness of COVID-19 and significantly increases the immunity system of those who have a high risk for contracting the virus. There are currently no known U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved vaccines or drugs to treat COVID-19.