In late June, federal agents arrested the owner and three former employees of RGV DME, a now-closed medical equipment supplier based in Pharr, Texas. Each of the four individuals arrested faces 22 criminal charges including five counts of wire fraud, six counts of health care fraud, 10 counts of aggravated identity theft, and one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud in connection with allegedly fake Medicaid and Medicare claims.
According to documents filed in the Southern District of Texas, RGV DME’s former owner, 39-year-old Marcello Herrera, and three other employees charged the United States government and the Texas Medicaid program approximately $7.1 million for equipment that was never delivered to customers. Herrera’s wife, 31-year-old Carla Cantu Herrera, 51-year-old Ramon de la Garza, and 27-year-old Beatriz Ramos were also arrested by federal agents.
U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson has alleged the medical equipment in question was never prescribed by a doctor and several of the patients the equipment was designed to benefit were deceased when the federal reimbursement claims were filed. According to Magidson the four employees instead forged both patient and physician names on federal forms. Court documents also accuse the employees of making illegal payments to obtain Medicare and Medicaid identification numbers in order to allegedly create a number of fraudulent claims. Magdison stated as many as 90 percent of the 25,000 Medicare and Medicaid claims filed by RGV DME for durable medical equipment such as mattresses, electric wheelchairs, and other supplies between 2004 and 2010 were fraudulent. If convicted, the accused employees face up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each of the wire fraud charges. The possible penalty for a conviction on each of the other charges ranges from two to 10 years in federal prison.
Hidalgo County has seen several cases of alleged health care fraud in recent months. In December 2011, two Palmview medical suppliers pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. They will be sentenced in August. In February 2012, a former Weslaco medical supplier was sentenced to 10 years in prison without parole after he was convicted of health care fraud and identity theft. Prosecutors and federal investigators definitely appear to be keeping tabs on medical suppliers in the Rio Grande Valley.
White collar crimes such as wire fraud normally involve lengthy investigations by federal agents. Because a Federal Grand Jury often investigates white collar crimes under the direction of a U.S. Attorney, anyone accused of such a crime is already behind the eight ball before they are ever charged. It is essential for anyone accused of a federal crime to contact a skilled criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible after being arrested. If you were charged with a federal white collar crime, you need an experienced Texas federal crimes defense attorney on your side.
No one charged with a white collar crime in federal court should face the situation alone. If you or a loved one stands accused of a federal crime, contact a hardworking Texas white collar crimes lawyer to represent and advise you today.
Texas Jury Convicts Puerto Rican Man of Trafficking Counterfeit Prescription Drugs through the Mail, Texas Criminal Lawyer Blog, June 28, 2012
Dallas Socialite Charged With Internet Child Exploitation, Texas Criminal Lawyer Blog, June 27, 2012