Updated at 9:30 p.m.
McALLEN — Meisy Angelica Zamora was still dressed in the previous day’s business attire when she made her initial appearance in federal court Friday. She had been arrested Thursday upon appearing at the courthouse for her husband’s court hearing.
Her husband, Dr. Jorge Zamora-Quezada, was arrested in May on federal charges of healthcare fraud and now his wife is accused of participating in the scheme.
Zamora is charged with conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud, according to a criminal complaint which alleges that between 2000 and 2018, she held a supervisory role in her husband’s practice, the Center for Arthritis & Osteoporosis in Edinburg, and as such participated in an alleged scheme to provide unnecessary treatment to patients in order to defraud health insurers.
A practice manager told investigators that Zamora was actively involved in supervising employees who raised complaints with her about having to meet quotas for medical procedures due to fear of raising them with her husband, Zamora-Quezada, according to the complaint.
Another employee, a billing supervisor, alleged that Zamora participated in weekly and bi-weekly meetings that focused on increasing productivity and quotas.
“The focus was on increasing revenue through ordering more tests and procedures, regardless of what patients actually needed,” the compliant stated. “(The billing supervisor) stated that Meisy Zamora was ‘all about the money.’”
Additionally, employees stated she participated in the “alteration and manufacture” of medical records, according to investigators, and a medical assistant there claimed employees were instructed to create false and fictitious medical records in response to grand jury subpoenas served on the medical practice in January and March 2017.
During her initial appearance in court before Magistrate Judge Juan F. Alanis, family members sat in the gallery often comforting each other. They declined to make a statement after the hearing.
Zamora told the judge she would like a court-appointed attorney to represent her, telling the judge her previous attorney would no longer do so as she was unable to pay him that day. However, Alanis suggested she seek a different attorney and that after reviewing her finances, it appeared she had sufficient funds to retain her own legal counsel.
As part of her husband’s case, Dr. Zamora-Quezada’s attorneys submitted a motion to release funds seized by investigators.
His attorneys argued many of the deposits made into the eight bank accounts that were seized were made before or after the alleged criminal activity. Some of the financial assets seized include her assets which the attorneys argue stem from a divorce settlement from a previous marriage.
The motion to release those funds, however, was denied Thursday by U.S. District Judge Ricardo H. Hinojosa who is presiding over his case.
The issue of legal representation will be taken up again during a detention hearing scheduled for Monday during which the judge will also decide whether or not to set a bond.
The attorney for the government, Andrew R. Swartz, said the government would seek to have her held without bond, the same situation her husband is currently in. He is being held at the East Hidalgo County Detention Center in La Villa pending trial.
Zamora-Quezada was arrested in May on charges of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud, five counts of healthcare fraud, and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.
His trial is tentatively scheduled for September.
Staff Writer Lorenzo Zazueta-Castro contributed to this report.