Texas doctor convicted in false diagnosis fraud scheme

January 17, 2020

The rheumatologist is expected to be sentenced in March for the $325 million scheme.

A Texas rheumatologist was convicted of a false diagnosis and fraud scheme after a 25-day trial, according to a news release from the Justice Department.

Jorge Zamora-Quezada, MD, 63, of Mission, Texas, was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud, seven counts of healthcare fraud, and a single count of conspiracy to obstruct justice, the release says.

He operated medical practices throughout South Texas and San Antonio.

According to evidence presented during the trial, Zamora-Quezada falsely diagnosed “a large number” of patients with rheumatoid arthritis and treated them with toxic, medically unnecessary medications such as chemotherapy drugs on the base of that diagnosis. This led many patients, some as young as 13 years old, to suffer physical and emotional harm, the release says.

In an attempt to subvert a grand jury investigation into the conduct, Zamora-Quezada falsified medical records.

“The conduct in this case was heinous,” Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division says in the release. “Dr. Zamora-Quezada falsely diagnosed vulnerable patients, including the young, elderly, and disabled, with life-long diseases requiring invasive treatments that those patients did not in fact need. Today’s guilty verdict shows that the Department of Justice will work tirelessly to protect the public from unscrupulous medical professionals who greedily line their own pockets at the expense of their patients’ health and safety.”

“Rarely do we see such an egregious case of health care fraud, where so many patients received years of unnecessary and debilitating treatments, which were rendered out of sheer greed,” Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs of the FBI’s San Antonio Field Office says in the release. “The FBI is committed to seeking justice for each and every victim who suffered immeasurable harm at the hands of these defendants. The public deserves to be able to seek medical care without fear of being falsely diagnosed and given toxic medications they don’t need. We will relentlessly pursue those who would enrich themselves at the expense of those most vulnerable in our community.”