DALLAS - The Texas Medicaid dental scandal is moving into a new phase. A construction phase.
One of the dentists charged with fraud in billing Texas taxpayers tens of millions of dollars for unneeded braces on children is in a new spurt of expanding his mansion.
He's building a water park on the property.
It's happening out of public sight, among the high-dollar homes on Dallas' glitzy Strait Lane. All the homes are big here, but the home of dentist Richard Malouf, former majority owner of All Smiles Dental Centers, is even bigger.
Plans for the expansion are on file with the Dallas Planning Commission.
"There's going be a gymnasium, a rock climbing wall," said real estate columnist Candy Evans. "There's plans for a bowling alley upstairs. There's going to be exercise rooms."
The complex, which began taking shape six years ago, began with one chateau. Malouf's Medicaid dental empire was expanding, and he sold a major share to a private equity fund.
Now he's sinking his earnings into a new mansion next door, along with a private Schlitternbahn in the back acreage, along with a second swimming pool to match the one at the original mansion.
All this is happening as two suits charge Malouf with massive fraud, brought by the Texas Attorney General and private attorneys under the False Claims Act.
Attorney Jim Moriarty is one of a consortium of attorneys in the action, led by Waters & Craus in Dallas. They say samples of Malouf's records show that 100 percent of his Medicaid claims were false.
"Frankly, it borders on being obscene," Moriarty said of the mansion expansion. "The taxpayers of the State of Texas paid to build that house, and are paying to expand that house for a guy who claims to have made his money treating the people of Texas."
"I think the only other park I know of is in Jupiter, Florida," Candy Evans said.
That one belongs to singer Celine Dion. A comparison of photos of Dion's estate with those of Malouf's, obtained by News 8, show that Malouf's water park may be bigger.
In Texas, a family's home is immune from seizure. But the lawyers in the false claims action against Malouf say his home may be fair game.
"If that home is purchased with stolen money, or that home is based on money that has been earned by falsehood or deceit, then that home is not protected at all," Moriarty said.
Malouf has several groups of attorneys, since his former company, All Smiles, is in bankruptcy in addition to his pending false claims suit. His most recent criminal attorney did not get back to us.