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Mass. Orthodontist Accused Of Fraud Says He Won't Be 'Bullied'

BOSTON (CBS) - Dr. Mouhab Rizkallah is the President of Medicaid Orthodontists of Massachusetts, but Attorney General Maura Healey says he was abusing the MassHealth insurance system and using kids and braces to do it.

"Basically what he was doing was using these poor children who are on MassHealth as a way to bill MassHealth for services," Healey said.

Braces are a big part of some kids' lives and Dr. Rizkallah runs six offices in the state. In the past eight years, he has sued MassHealth three times. He says the lawsuit filed by the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office is retaliation.

"We won because MassHealth and their handler, Delta Dental, is defrauding kids out of their Medicaid entitlements," Dr. Rizkallah said.

Healey said Rizkallah was keeping braces on kids for five or six years when the average is two to three, so he could charge more.

"He put braces on a child's top teeth for example, even when there was no medical justification," Healey said.

According to Healey, Dr. Rizkallah fraudulently submitted millions of dollars in false claims to MassHealth. In addition to keeping children in braces for too long, Rizkallah is also accused of deceptively billing for mouth guards.

"The bottom line is we won't rush our treatments, or fail to give kids their needed mouth guards, or be bullied into lower quality care," Dr. Rizkallah said.

One father, who did not want to be identified, said Dr. Rizkallah had braces on his daughter for five years. "There was definitely something going on," he said. "That we felt that he was basically stealing money."

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