Mission clinic owner, sister plead guilty to healthcare fraud

A brother and sister accused in connection with a healthcare fraud investigation each pleaded guilty to federal charges avoiding a federal jury trial, records show.

On Thursday, Julian Ybarra Jr. and his sister Krystal Lee Ybarra each pleaded guilty to one count of healthcare fraud; in exchange, the two will avoid a federal jury trial where the punishment would have been upwards of 10 years in federal prison.

The two were arrested and charged in April in an investigation that alleged the violation of several federal and state laws related to kickbacks the two received.

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Julian Ybarra, who owned and operated a number of entities doing business as Mission Wellness Center, his sister Krystal Ybarra and two pharmacists — one in Pharr and one in Houston who are unnamed in the complaint — allegedly received cash kickbacks for several years by submitting fake claims to healthcare programs.

Ybarra and his sister Krystal allegedly directed and conspired with a nurse practitioner who signed prescriptions for patients that had not been seen by the nurse, or prescribed prescriptions for patients that did not want the prescription, and or did not require the prescription, the government document states.

“It was further part of the conspiracy that the (Ybarra’s) or their co-conspirators, did not deliver prescribed medications or dispensed by pharmacies to the patient whom the medication had been prescribed,” the document states.

Another element of the conspiracy was the involvement of the pharmacies themselves would submit fraudulent claims based on fake prescriptions.

According to a 14-page indictment against the Ybarra’s, they received a total of more than $6 million in kickbacks during the roughly more than a year that began sometime in 2014 and ended in December 2015.

The pair were originally facing more than 13 counts related to healthcare fraud.

The siblings are scheduled for sentencing in mid-November at which time the government will urge the court to take into account their guilty pleas to some of the charges.