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Back in May, 2017 a federal grand jury returned an eight-count criminal indictment. charging Dr. Basil Hantash with eight counts of health care billing fraud. The dermatologist is president and medical director of Advanced Skin Institute on Geer Road in Turlock.

According to federal court documents, Dr. Hantash was a dermatologist and the medical director of the Advanced Skin Institute in Turlock California . For about six years Hantash made insurance reimbursement claims to private insurance companies for performing acne surgeries. In fact, however, the indictment states he only performed only cosmetic procedures known as chemical peels or microdermabrasions. The indictment notes Hantash employed estheticians to perform work, but per California law they are prohibited from performing surgeries.

Government records state in 2014 Anthem Blue Cross audited the Advanced Skin Institute. In response Hantash allegedly submitted false documents claiming he did surgeries using surgical blades. In fact, he had not. The indictment includes fraudulent billings submitted to Anthem and Blue Shield.

Then on October 4 2021, the Modesto Bee reported that Federal charges against Dr. Hantash have been dismissed after the doctor complied with a deferred prosecution agreement in the health care billing fraud case. The Department of Justice prosecuted the case in the U.S. District Court in Fresno.

Judge Dale Drozd approved a deferred prosecution agreement in September 2019 obligating Hantash to stop seeking reimbursements from insurance companies for procedures using a dermalinfusion device, unless the practice received prior approval from insurance providers.

Hantash agreed to return insurance company payments received for those procedures between January 2011 and April 2016. According to terms of the agreement, Advanced Skin Institute reimbursed $92,234 to Anthem Blue Cross and $81,515 to Blue Shield of California.

The federal case was dismissed Sept. 27.

Hantash expressed the opinion last week the criminal indictment was not justified. “This was a civil dispute and contractually should have gone to arbitration,” the physician said by email.

Federal authorities seized $687,583 in funds from an Advanced Skin Institute account in 2017. The court agreement called for returning $513,804 to Hantash’s practice after reimbursements of $173,749 to the insurance companies.