A Texas dentist charged with defrauding state taxpayers of tens of millions of dollars in a Medicaid scam is using his allegedly not-so-hard-earned bucks on something useful: building a full-fledged water park in his backyard.
According to the Texas attorney general, Dr. Richard Malouf raked in millions by putting braces on children who didn't need them and filing false claims under Medicaid. Malouf also seems to have a history of not paying bills: There are liens against his Dallas mega-mansion totaling $112,000 for unpaid work on the home, and he owes a banking firm $3.2 million for services rendered, according to local TV station WFAA.
In Texas, homes cannot be seized to make up for unpaid debt, which may be why Malouf is funneling his money into his estate. However, if it can be proven that Malouf used stolen money from falsified claims to fund his home projects, then his home could be seized. For the past six years, he has been contracting projects to double the size of his mansion. (The new wing is set to include a bowling alley, a gymnasium and a rock-climbing wall.)
The backyard water park is already taking shape. A 5-foot-wide "Lazy River" lined in concrete is currently under construction, and three-story water slides are being erected. At one point, the water-park plans reportedly called for zig-zagging water slides to weave in and out of the home's upstairs windows, where there would be points of entry to the slides from inside.
According to real estate columnist Candy Evans, the size of Malouf's water park could trump Celine Dion's famous water world behind her Jupiter, Fla., estate.
"Frankly, it borders on being obscene," said attorney Jim Moriarty in comments to WFAA in July. Moriarty, who is part of a consortium of lawyers bringing a false claims lawsuit against Malouf, added: "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."
Malouf's attorneys have not commented to the media about the accusations against the embattled dentist.
To make matters worse, the water park that Malouf is adding to his home likely won't even boost the home's value, Evans told WFAA.
"Even a swimming pool now is looked at as something that will lose value," Evans said. "It's going to be a huge negative for the property. The neighbors are distressed because they don't want to look at Wet 'n' Wild."
Talk about money down the drain.
Perhaps Malouf is fighting to compete with this outrageous water park behind a home in Boulder City, Nev.
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