One defendant acquitted in healthcare fraud trial

McALLEN — After arguing over the jury instructions in the lead up to deliberations, a federal judge on Monday granted a motion to drop some counts on some of the co-defendants and completely acquit one defendant in the healthcare fraud trial of Dr. Jorge Zamora Quezada.

U.S. District Ricardo H. Hinojosa granted motions to acquit Felix Ramos, a former employee of Zamora Quezada, who was charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering.

The money laundering charge, count 10 in the superseding indictment, was completely dropped, including for the doctor.

Meisy Zamora, Zamora Quezada’s wife, and Estella Natera, another former employee who worked in the billing department, were also dropped from count 11, which was the conspiracy to obstruct justice.

In acquitting them from those charges, Hinojosa cited no factual basis presented during the trial from which the jury could find them guilty.

Meisy Zamora and Natera are still charged in count one — conspiracy to commit health care fraud.

Zamora Quezada is still charged in the other 10 counts of the superseding indictment.

Zamora Quezada, a rheumatologist, is alleged to have participated in a scheme to defraud health insurers by misdiagnosing and over-treating patients.

Meisy Zamora, Natera and Ramos were accused of also participating in the scheme which allegedly included tampering with medical records and money laundering to conceal the source of the funds they made from the alleged scheme.

The attorneys are scheduled to deliver their closing statements today.

Editor’s note: This story was updated to clarify information about count 10.