On January 15, 2020, a federal jury found Dr. Jorge Zamora-Quezada, a Texas rheumatologist, guilty for his participation in a $325 million health care fraud scheme. Dr. Zamora-Quezada was indicted on May 9, 2018, for, amongst other crimes, health care fraud, conspiracy to commit health care fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
According to the government, Dr. Zamora-Quezada’s scheme involved falsely diagnosing patients with degenerative diseases. Patients falsely diagnosed included the elderly, young, and disabled patients. After providing a false diagnosis, Dr. Zamora-Quezada administered a battery of unnecessary toxic and invasive treatments. To prevent discovery, Dr. Zamora-Quezada would dismiss patients that raised too many questions or that challenged the excessive treatments. Dr. Zamora-Quezada also concealed thousands of medical records in an unsecured dilapidated barn in the Rio Grande Valley, according to the indictment. The indictment also alleged that Dr. Zamora-Quezada rented various commercial and residential properties to create the appearance of legitimate wealth. Although the Texas Medical Board publicly reprimanded Zamora-Quezada in 2009 for “excessive laboratory tests and imaging studies for multiple patients without adequate justification or documentation,” the indictment alleges that the scheme had been ongoing since 2000.
At trial, Dr. Zamora-Quezada faced one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice, and nine counts of healthcare fraud. A jury found Dr. Zamora-Quezada guilty after deliberating for twelve hours following a 25-day trial. The evidence showed that Dr. Zamora-Quezada diagnosed numerous patients with rheumatoid arthritis, an incurable disease, and then provided toxic treatments, like chemotherapy. At least one of Dr. Zamora-Quezada patients was as young as 13. Evidence also showed the Dr. Zamora-Quezada falsified records to mislead the grand jury investigation.
The millions improperly paid to Dr. Zamora-Quezada allowed him to live a lavish lifestyle, the government argued to the jury. He owned at least one private jet, a Maserati, and a Porsche. He also owned numerous exclusive properties in the United States and Mexico and high-end designer clothes. Dr. Zamora-Quezada would often travel to his various offices using his private jet and Maserati.
“The abhorrent conduct in this case, which resulted in harm to unsuspecting patients, only serves to deepen the dedication of HHS-OIG agents and our law enforcement partners to pursue, prosecute, and exclude bad actors in the Medicare and Medicaid programs,” according to Special Agent in Charge CJ Porter of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General. U.S. District Judge Ricardo Hinojosa of the Southern District of Texas is expected to sentence Dr. Zamora-Quezada on March 27, 2020. To read the DOJ’s press release, click here: https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/texas-doctor-found-guilty-role-325-million-health-care-fraud-scheme-involving-false-diagnoses.
The attorneys at Chilivis Grubman have represented healthcare providers and other individuals in connection with white collar criminal prosecutions for many years, often securing highly favorable outcomes such as government declinations. If you are facing white collar criminal charges, please contact us today.