Port Neches doctor files fraud, theft complaint against company

Andrea Dearden Oct. 1, 2014, 8:58am

A retiring Port Neches physician alleges a man who agreed to buy his practice stole money from him instead. 

Dr. Houston Hamby filed a lawsuit on Aug. 25 in Jefferson County District Court against Darran Dollarhyde, Qamar U. Arfeen and Diagnostic Group Integrated Healthcare System. 

According to the complaint, Hamby owned and operated a family medical practice in Port Neches for decades. The physician says he decided, at 77, to retire and entered into an asset purchase agreement with Diagnostic Group Integrated Healthcare System. A purchase agreement was executed Jan. 1. However Hamby says the sale ended up being invalid because his practice was not incorporated. 

Hamby says he allowed Arfeen, the president and only member of Diagnostic Group, to send letters to patients letting them know about Hamby's retirement and suggesting they begin seeing Dr. Laurence Sanders who was employed by Arfeen. According to the petition, the patients who were transferred to the defendants' facility brought in income of $5,000 per month. 

Because the first sale was determined to be invalid, Hamby alleges he was forced to continue running the medical office on his own, spending $19,000 of his personal funds to do that until the sale of his practice was finalized April 1. 

After the sale, Hamby says he granted Arfeen access to the practice's bank account "for monitoring purposes only." As of July, Hamby says he had still not seen a payment for the sale of his practice. At a meeting July 25, the doctor says he was told by Dollarhyde to withdraw $20,000 from the business account as partial payment on the sale. 

According to the lawsuit, Hamby was unable to withdraw the money because Arfeen had allegedly "converted and swiped" $25,000 the day before, leaving insufficient funds to cover the withdrawal promised to Hamby.

Hamby accuses the defendants of fraud, conversion, theft and breach of contract. He seeks $44,058 in damages plus the income he would've earned had he not transferred patients to the defendants' practices. He also seeks exemplary damages plus a restraining order and injunction. 

In addition to the fraud complaint, Hamby has filed an application to foreclose a landlord's lien. He says he signed a rental agreement in March to lease his medical office on Nall Street in Port Neches to the defendants but say they failed to pay the $5,033 rental payment. The doctor is requesting to foreclose the lien to satisfy his claim for unpaid rent. 

Attorneys Greg M. Dykeman and Vickie Thompson, with Strong Pipkin Bissell & Ledyard LLP in Beaumont, represents Hamby.

Jefferson County District Court case number: A196-050

This is a report on a civil lawsuit filed at Jefferson County District Court. The details in this report come from an original complaint filed by a plaintiff. Please note that a complaint represents an accusation by a private individual, not the government. It is not an indication of guilt and it represents only one side of the story.

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