Texas man implicated in healthcare fraud conspiracy pleads guilty - Brownsville Herald: Local News

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Texas man implicated in healthcare fraud conspiracy pleads guilty

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Posted: Wednesday, June 5, 2019 8:45 pm

The last person arrested in what federal authorities allege was a scam that bilked Medicare out of $150 million was the first to plead guilty.

Jesus Virlar-Cadena, of San Antonio, pleaded guilty Tuesday afternoon to charges of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud and conspiracy to violate the Travel Act.

Virlar-Cadena is charged in a 12-count indictment along with Harlingen residents Henry McInnis, 47, and Jose Garza, 40; San Antonio resident Rodney Mesquias, 47; and Laredo resident Fancisco Pena, 82, all of whom have entered not guilty pleas to charges of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, aiding and abetting, obstruction of justice and conspiracy to pay and receive kickbacks.

Federal prosecutors allege the conspiracy involved kickbacks and bribes to medical doctors in exchange for certifying that patients qualified for services, when they did not qualify for services, and for referring patients.

The men are also accused of fraudulently keeping patients in hospice care for years in order to increase Medicare revenue.

The indictment details accusations about how the defendants used the fraudulently obtained money to fund a lavish lifestyle that included the purchase of a Porsche, expensive jewelry, clothes from Louis Vuitton, exclusive real estate and season tickets for premium seating to see the San Antonio Spurs.

During the Tuesday hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen Betancourt announced that a separate criminal complaint had been filed against Virlar-Cadena, who reached a plea deal with the federal prosecutor.

Both of those documents, however, remain secret after U.S. District Judge Rolando Olvera ordered them sealed after Betancourt told him that if the criminal complaint and factual summary contained in the plea deal were public, the documents could impede the government’s ongoing investigative efforts.

Betancourt told Olvera that the men are also facing charges in the Western District of Texas, which includes San Antonio, and from the Department of Justice Health Care Fraud Unit. Betancourt said Virlar-Cardena’s plea deal satisfies charges in those jurisdictions.

In exchange for his plea of guilty in the criminal complaint, Betancourt said the government will dismiss the indictment against Virlar-Cadena at sentencing, which is scheduled for Sept. 4.

mreagan@brownsvilleherald.com

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