Medical equipment company owner gets 78 months in federal prison

Defendant ordered to pay more than $3 million in restitution

The federal courthouse at Bentsen Tower, located on Bicentennial Boulevard in McAllen, is seen in this August 2018 file photo. (Joel Martinez | jmartinez@themonitor.com)

McALLEN — A federal judge sentenced a McAllen woman Tuesday to more than six years in prison for her role in a scheme to defraud Medicaid, according to a news release.

U.S. District Judge Randy Crane sentenced Anna Ramirez-Ambriz to a 78-month prison term during a sentencing hearing Tuesday, the release stated.

The 57-year-old woman, who owned Compassionate Medical Supply in Edinburg, pleaded true to one count of healthcare fraud on March 31, 2017, court records show, in exchange for the dismissal of two document fraud charges.

In the January 2017 indictment filed against her, government prosecutors alleged Ramirez-Ambriz defrauded the state’s Medicaid program of millions over the course of more than six years by submitting false claims to Texas Medicaid, court records show.

An unsealed indictment reads that Ramirez-Ambriz submitted or caused others to submit $4,536,152.26 in false or fraudulent claims to Texas Medicaid. This occurred sometime between Jan. 5, 2007 and Nov. 19, 2013, “for durable equipment which was not provided or not properly provided to Texas Medicaid recipients and/or was not authorized by a physician,” according to the indictment.

Records also show that Ramirez-Ambriz and Compassionate Medical Supply “billed for more incontinence supplies,” such as pull-ons, youth diapers and disposable underpads, than what was purchased from distributors.

“As a result of her scheme, Medicaid suffered a loss of $3,143,149.41,” a release from the Southern District of Texas U.S. Attorney’s Office stated.

In the end, Ramirez-Ambriz will be expected to pay back a monetary judgment of about $3.1 million as part of her plea deal with prosecutors, records show.

According to the release, the Texas Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, FBI and the Department of Health and Human Services‐Office of Inspector General conducted the investigation.

Ramirez-Ambriz was permitted to remain on bond and voluntarily surrender to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.