Doctor faces new charges, two employees arrested

McALLEN — Dr. Jorge Zamora-Quezada, the rheumatologist accused of healthcare fraud, faces new charges in a superseding indictment unsealed Wednesday.

The new indictment includes new charges against Zamora-Quezada and his wife, who was arrested last month, including obstruction of justice and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Two employees of his medical practices, Estella Santos Natera, a billing supervisor, and Felix Ramos, who helped manage the doctor’s financial affairs, are accused of assisting the doctor and his wife, Meisy Zamora, in the scheme, according to the indictment.

Santos Natera allegedly helped the couple in executing and attempting to execute a scheme to defraud health insurers by submitting false claims by helping them falsify patient records to appear that certain procedures were medically necessary and that certain procedures had been performed. It is also alleged that she helped them obstruct investigations by creating false records to be provided to the grand jury.

The doctor is alleged to have falsely diagnosed patients in order to file those claims, according to the complaint which lists the initials of 19 patients who were affected.

The indictment also states that Zamora-Quezada and his wife directed staff to increase the number of patient visits and the number of medical procedures that were performed on patients “in order to generate profits and pay the salaries of employees and co-conspirators.”

The money made from the scheme, according to the government, was used to enrich them and Ramos, the second employee in the indictment, who is accused of assisting the couple in concealing the source of those funds.

He allegedly conducted financial transactions knowing they were meant to conceal the source of the funds and helped transfer money to Mexico by funneling money to other bank accounts, according to the indictment.

He also allegedly assisted in concealing the origin of the funds by investing in commercial and residential real estate including two penthouse apartments in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and a timeshare in Punta Mita, Mexico, as well as condos in Aspen, Colorado, and San Diego California. Ramos is alleged to have assisted in managing those properties.

Santos Natera and Ramos were both arrested Wednesday, according to court documents, the same day a hearing was scheduled to reconsider the order to hold Zamora-Quezada without bond.

Defense Attorney J.A. Tony Canales had filed the motion to reconsider given that his wife was now also being held pending trial, leaving their 14-year-old daughter without either parent, among other reasons listed in the motion.

However, given the development of the superseding indictment, Canales requested the judge withhold ruling on the motion to reconsider, which the judge, U.S. District Judge Ricardo H. Hinojosa agreed to do.