Allure Medical Spa doc who pushed vitamin C to prevent and slow COVID-19 charged with health care fraud

A Metro Detroit doctor has been charged in federal court with two counts relating to health care fraud on accusations that he pushed supplements he said could protect people from COVID-19.

Dr. Charles Mok, who ran the Allure Medical Spa in Shelby Township is alleged to have committed health care fraud and conspiracy to commit health care fraud by engaging in schemes of submitting false claims to Medicare for payment of treatments in clinics run by the medical firm.

The complaint alleges the Medicare claims were unreasonable, unnecessary or did not occur as reported. It also alleges that Mok used the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to push Vitamin-C as a treatment for the virus - despite scant evidence that that is true. 

The Allure Medical Spa facility was raided last week by federal law enforcement officials who were accompanied by members of the Department of Health and Human Services. Taking place on Thursday on 26 Mile Road and Van Dyke, a spokesperson with the FBI confirmed officials were investigating the clinic was providing fraudulent treatment.

According to the federal complaint, an Allure employee with access to Mok and Allure personnel information reported Mok submitted false and fraudulent claims to Medicare for payment. The lawsuit said Allure is not a Medicare partner and the claims were for services there unreasonable, unnecessary, or simply didn't even occur.

The federal complaint also claims that Allure continued to operate as a vein treatment center after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer ordered all non-essential businesses close in March to prevent the spread of coronavirus. 

Mok responded saying the other practices were “cowards” and the COVID-19 pandemic is an “opportunity to capture the market," according to the charges.

Additionally, the cooperating witness said there were five Allure employees who had tested positive for COVID-19 yet continued to work and treat patients. One of them was assigned by Mok to treat COVID-19 patients because that employee had already contracted the virus. 

On April 12, Allure started offering high-dose IV infusions of vitamin C for patients at risk of contracting COVID-19 or already tested positive, the feds say. Mok announced the infusion plan in a video on YouTube, claiming “IV vitamin C is being used in hospitals across the country to treat the most advanced disease associated with COVID-19".

Mok claimed it was being used to reduce the duration and severity of the illness and that it's becoming standard of care to use high-dose vitamin C for sickest patients.

According to the FDA, there are no drugs, therapeutics, or vaccines yet approved to specifically treat, cure, or prevent COVID-19.

The complaint says despite that, Mok said in a management meeting that offices that refuse to provide vitamin C infusion will be forced to close “If you won’t treat COVID patients in the fear that they would expose vein patients you need to shut down!”

Mok filed almost 100 claims to insurance companies and to Medicare for the infusion therapy services, the government said, which is not covered by Medicare and would not be an approved claim.

Based on the facts in the complaint, Mok was charged with committing health care fraud and conspiracy to commit health care fraud. He's due in court Tuesday afternoon to be arraigned on the charges.