McALLEN — Despite objections from the government, a federal judge on Friday set a bond for Meisy Zamora, paving the way for her release from federal custody more than a year after she was first arrested on healthcare fraud charges.
Zamora is the wife of Dr. Jorge Zamora-Quezada — the rheumatologist accused of running a scheme to defraud health insurers by misdiagnosing and over-treating patients. Two employees are also accused of participating in the scheme, but all four have pleaded not guilty.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Juan F. Alanis set a $250,000 with a $25,000 deposit.
The judge required a co-surety who had (assets) worth $250,000 but clarified that multiple people could serve as co-sureties.
Zamora will be subject to GPS monitoring and will be under home detention at all times except to attend her 14-year-old daughter’s school activities.
Alanis also ordered that Zamora be appointed a third-party custodian and restricted Zamora’s travel to Hidalgo County but prohibited her from going to any of her husband’s medical clinics.
She is also prohibited from possessing or having access to medical records from those clinics or working in a healthcare related business.
She cannot communicate with the witnesses or co-defendants in the case including her husband, Zamora-Quezada, despite a request from her defense attorney, Christopher Sully, to allow her to speak with him.
Zamora-Quezada has not been granted bond and remains in custody pending trial which is currently set for Sept. 18.
The granting of bond for Zamora comes after a hearing held earlier this week during which Sully and the attorney for the government, Leslie Garthwaite, presented arguments over whether or not there was any new information to justify re-opening the detention hearing.
After Alanis ruled on Wednesday that there was new information and granted Sully’s motion to revoke Zamora’s detention order, the government filed a request to reconsider that decision.
During Friday morning’s hearing, Andrew Swartz, an attorney for the government, emphasized the severity of the allegations against Zamora and her co-defendants by recounting the experiences of a child who Zamora-Quezada is accused of misdiagnosing.
However, Sully noted that it was her husband, not his client, who is accused of actually committing the acts of misdiagnosing patients.
Swartz, however, said that she is accused of having altered medical records in the face of a grand jury investigation into their medical practice — an obstruction of justice — and also argued that she was a flight risk given that a family member was recorded as saying that Zamora traveled to Mexico after her husband was arrested out of fear of being arrested herself.
Sully, though, again pointed out that Zamora had returned to the country and that she attended her husband’s court hearings.
Alanis said that her ties to Mexico was a concern during her initial detention hearing in August 2018 but also took into consideration that she had lived in the U.S. for 20 years and has a 14-year-old daughter living in Mission who is a U.S. citizen.
The Bail Reform Act, also played into the decision, Alanis said. Under the act, he found there were conditions that could be set for Zamora to ensure her appearance in court.
However, despite the judge’s decision, Zamora will remain in custody for at least another few days as Swartz, the attorney for the government, said they will appeal the decision.
The government also filed a request that Zamora’s release be stayed until the appeal is decided. Alanis stayed her release pending a ruling on the appeal.
A judge Friday morning set bond for Meisy Zamora at $250,000.
Zamora is facing charges of healthcare fraud along with her husband, Dr. Jorge Zamora-Quezada.
However, the government says they will appeal the decision, and request stay of her release until the appeal is resolved. Thus, Zamora will remain in custody for a few days.
Check back later for an update.