Judge mulls Zamora’s release in healthcare fraud case

McALLEN — Whether Meisy Zamora will remain behind bars as she awaits trial remains in question which was the focus of a hearing held Tuesday in the ongoing case of alleged healthcare fraud allegedly committed by her along with her husband, Dr. Jorge Zamora-Quezada.

Zamora was arrested in July 2018 in connection to the alleged healthcare fraud scheme that was run through her husband’s medical practice — allegations for which Dr. Zamora-Quezada is also detained without bond.

She and her attorney, Christopher Sully, appeared in court Tuesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Juan F. Alanis to again request that she be released on bond after Alanis decided against it during her initial detention hearing in August 2018.

Zamora appeared somber during the hearing but smiled when members of her family entered the gallery. The length of her detainment showed through her physical appearance as her dark hair had grown to nearly match the length of the blonde tips.

As she stood beside Sully, he and the attorney for government, Leslie Garthwaite, went back and forth on the two issues the judge was considering that day: whether there was anything new to justify having another detention hearing and whether there was a due process violation.

On the first issue, Sully argued that following the discovery process in the case, it was evident that the government did not have as strong a case as they initially claimed, noting that prosecutors have, so far, only listed 24 or 25 patients as potential witnesses.

However, Garthwaite argued that Sully grossly mischaracterized the government’s case and that prosecutors could still call on more patients to make their case.

Regarding the question of due process, Sully again noted that Zamora had a 14-year-old daughter and said that delays in the case were due to discovery issues caused by the government, an assertion Garthwaite took issue with.

The case has been ongoing since the arrest of her husband, Dr. Zamora-Quezada, in May 2018.

The government claims Zamora-Quezada, Zamora, and two employees participated in a scheme to defraud health insurers by misdiagnosing and over-treating patients.

All four pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Zamora, herself, was arrested in the federal courthouse as she was heading into a hearing for her husband’s case.

During her initial bond hearing on Aug. 2, she was denied bond after it was revealed she had traveled to Mexico out of fear.

Special Agent Joshua Bley had testified about phone conversations between Zamora-Quezada and his children that took place when he was already in jail.

In one conversation between Zamora-Quezada and his daughter, he asked about his wife’s whereabouts to which his daughter said she had left out of fear of being arrested, according to Bley’s testimony.

At the time, Sully argued that although she had left the country, Zamora had returned and had been present at all but one of her husband’s court hearings.

He also argued that she had strong ties in the United States, including her family.

However, Judge Alanis cited her access to various assets — and his belief that she could easily create a life for herself in Mexico — in his decision to order her detention pending trial.

On Tuesday, Garthwaite reiterated those ties, adding that she had bank accounts in Mexico that hadn’t been seized.

Sully, however, emphasized her ties to the U.S. noting that she had lived in the country for 20 years and all three of her biological children are U.S. citizens.

Alanis told the attorneys that he would take their arguments under advisement and expected to make a decision in the coming days.

If another hearing is required, the judge added, it would likely be held later this week.