Valley residents indicted on health care fraud charges

Pair allegedly billed $850,000 in equipment that was never delivered

McALLEN — Two Rio Grande Valley residents have been indicted on fraud charges, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office Southern District of Texas.

Everardo Villarreal, 46, of Edinburg, and Delilah Rae Robles, 38, of Weslaco are accused of running a scheme to defraud Texas Medicaid over the course of more than four years beginning in 2010, the release stated.

Villarreal and Robles were each “taken into custody” for allegedly submitting fraudulent claims for payment to Texas Medicaid for durable medical equipment, or DME supplies that were never delivered to Medicaid beneficiaries.

A federal grand jury in McAllen returned the indictment against the pair on Tuesday.

The indictment was unsealed Thursday as the Valley residents were taken into custody. They are expected to make initial appearances before U.S. Magistrate Judge Scott Hacker on Friday, according to the release.

Villarreal was the owner and operator of the now-defunct Durable Medical Supply Depot in Elsa, the indictment shows, while Robles acted as Villarreal’s secretary and Medicaid biller.

Delilah Robles

Both have had previous run-ins with the law; specifically, Robles was arrested in connection with suspicion of driving while intoxicated in February 2008, while Villarreal was also arrested on a similar charge in January 2009, according to Hidalgo County jail records.

In October 2009, Villarreal pleaded guilty to the class B misdemeanor DWI charge and was given a 180-day jail sentence, in addition to two years of community service, records also showed.

Robles’ DWI, also a class B misdemeanor, was dismissed in July 2013, according to the court records.

The indictment alleges they committed one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, four counts of substantive health care fraud as well as two counts of aggravated identity theft of local Medicaid beneficiaries’ personal Medicaid numbers, the release stated.

“From on or about April 2010 to on or about September 2014, Villarreal and Robles allegedly  billed Texas Medicaid in excess of $850,000 for DME that was either never delivered or was only partially delivered to Medicaid beneficiaries,” the document stated. “… Villarreal and Robles purchased or arranged for the purchase of personal Medicaid identification numbers of local Medicaid beneficiaries in order to submit false and fraudulent claims to Medicaid for items that were never intended to be delivered.”

If convicted, the Valley residents could face up to 10 years in federal prison; and if convicted of identity theft, they each also face a mandatory two years in prison, which must be served consecutively to any other sentence imposed. All charges also carry a $250,000 maximum possible fine.