Zamora granted release in healthcare fraud case

A federal judge granted a motion to revoke the detention order for Meisy Zamora — the wife of Dr. Jorge Zamora-Quezada, the rheumatologist indicted on charges of healthcare fraud — more than a year after she was arrested on allegations that she participated in the scheme.

Zamora, Zamora-Quezada, and two employees are accused of engaging in a scheme to defraud health insurers by misdiagnosing and over-treating patients.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Juan F. Alanis granted the motion on Wednesday allowing her release, stating he found sufficient basis to re-open a detention hearing because of new information presented by her defense attorney, Christopher Sully.

“Defense has presented new information and met this burden by clarifying the potential restitution Defendant may be assessed if convicted of the charges as set forth in the Superseding Indictment,” the order stated, referring to an indictment issued after the couple’s arrests in which more charges were filed against them.

The judge also stated that there were conditions of release that could be set to assure her appearance in court.

“In reaching this conclusion, the Court has taken into consideration the seriousness of the charges against (Zamora) as well as (Zamora’s) personal circumstances.”

During a hearing on these issues held on Tuesday, Sully argued that she had strong ties to the United States, noting that she had lived in the country for 20 years and all three of her biological children are U.S. citizens.

In opposition to her release, the government attorney, Leslie Garthwaite, argued that she had strong ties to Mexico including property and bank accounts.

Alanis cited those ties to Mexico in deciding to deny her release on bond during her initial detention hearing in August 2018, which was held a few days after her arrest in July 2018.

During that hearing, on Aug. 2, 2018, it was also revealed she had traveled to Mexico out of fear following her husband’s arrest in May 2018.

Special Agent Joshua Bley had testified about phone conversations between Dr. 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.

Zamora-Quezada has also been held without bond since his arrest, and the most recent request by his attorneys to release him on bond was denied last week by U.S. District Judge Ricardo H. Hinojosa, the judge who will preside over the trial that is currently set for Sept. 18.

Alanis, the magistrate judge who granted Zamora’s release, set a hearing for Friday morning to determine bond.