Judge affirms Zamora’s release; trial delayed again

McALLEN — A federal judge affirmed the decision to release Meisy Zamora on bond while she awaits trial on charges of healthcare fraud, a decision the government plans to appeal, putting her actual release on hold for seven days.

The decision, by U.S. District Judge Ricardo H. Hinojosa, came after U.S. Magistrate Judge Juan F. Alanis had granted her release on July 31.

A few days later, Alanis set a $250,000 bond with a $25,000 deposit.

Zamora’s release, however, was stayed as the government appealed the ruling.

In arguing for her to remain behind bars, attorneys for the government said she was a flight risk given her property and bank accounts in Mexico. They also pointed to a recorded phone conversation — before her arrest — between Zamora-Quezada and one of his daughters, during which the daughter said Zamora had left to Mexico out of fear of being arrested.

However, her defense attorney, Christopher Sully, dismissed that statement as an “opinion” on the part of the Zamora-Quezada’s daughter. Sully also noted that Zamora was a legal permanent resident of the United States and had a 14-year-old daughter who was a U.S. citizen.

On Thursday, nearly a month later, Judge Hinojosa affirmed the Alanis’ ruling though he increased the deposit to $40,000.

The government said they intended to appeal again and requested a 14-day stay on her release. Hinojosa, however, only granted a seven-day stay.

Zamora is accused of participating in an alleged healthcare fraud scheme along with her husband, Dr. Jorge Zamora-Quezada, and two of their employees. The government alleges the scheme involved defrauding health insurers by misdiagnosing and over-treating patients.

Hinojosa scheduled a hearing for Sept. 18 to consider motions filed by the defendants including separate motions from Zamora and Zamora-Quezada to dismiss their respective cases.

A new date for the trial, which had been scheduled for Sept. 18, has not yet been set.