Insurance Fraud NEWS
Texas Medicare fraudster fights to keep his property
December 03, 2019, San Antonio, TX
A man who was found guilty of health care fraud with former Rio Bravo mayor Francisco Pena is fighting to keep his property from forfeiture.
Rodney Mesquias, 47, was found guilty of conspiracy to commit health fraud and owns Boca Del Mar property in his name in San Antonio. Mesquias has until Dec. 6 to file a response to the motion, according to the court docket.
According to an affidavit, the government traced health care fraud proceeds used to purchase the property on 19318 Boca Del Mar.
The affidavit states proceeds from the health care fraud went into a $218,959.20 cashier’s check from Illumina, LLC, dated April 19, 2014, according to bank records. The check was made payable to First American Title, and the financial analysis showed the check was completely of medicare fraud proceeds.
Bexar County property records show the Boca Del Mar property was titled to Mesquias since a deed dated April 29, 2014, according to the motion.
The opposed motion for preliminary order of forfeiture of real property also states the property was used for money laundering. The motion states the financial transactions were “designed in whole or in part to conceal and disguise the nature, location, source, ownership, and control of the proceeds of specified unlawful activity ….”
These transactions were for “criminally derived property” of a value greater than $10,000, the motion states.
The fraud proceeds went into a bank account in the name of Professional Hospice Care, Inc, and put into checks made out to Illumina, LLC. Both entities are affiliates of Merida Group, which oversaw several affiliates across the state with many already shut down.
A check was then made to buy the Boca Del Mar property.
The property was bought in Mesquias’ name to make it appear “clean” to outside observers.
The affidavit attached to the motion was made by Michael Petron, a certified fraud examiner and managing director with Stout Risius Ross, LLC, a global financial firm that specializes in investment banking, dispute consulting and valuation and financial options.
The U.S. Southern District of Texas denied bond for the former Rio Bravo mayor and others who were found guilty of a $150 million health care fraud.
Pena, 82, filed a motion Tuesday to extend the deadline to file for a new trial and post-verdict motion for judgement for acquittal, according to court documents.
Other checks traced include a $50,000 check dated Nov. 22, 2013 to Illumina Hospice from Professional Hospice Care, Inc. It constitutes or is traceable to the fraud proceeds, according to the affidavit.
Another $50,000 check dated Dec. 2, 2013 was made out the same way, as well as a $120,000 check dated Jan. 17, 2014.
There was also a $100,000 check made out to Illumina Hospice from Professional Hospice Care. Mesquias signed all these checks.
The defendants also made a motion for judgment for acquittal based on claims that the evidence presented at trial was insufficient for a conviction, and a jury could not find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
The extension was granted, with the new deadline being Dec. 6. Co-defendant Mesquias filed the same motion for extension.
U.S. District Judge Rolando Olvera signed a motion Nov. 21 to modify the three defendants’ conditions of pretrial release, It would allow Pena, Mesquias and Henry McInnis, 47, to be on house arrest with GPS monitors.
Trio found guilty
Peña, the Merida Group director and a licensed physician, was found guilty of several fraudulent offenses. They include defrauding patients in connection to medical claims, money laundering, obstructing an FBI investigation, submitting false statements to the FBI and conspiring to pay and receive kickbacks.
Peña, Mesquias — of San Antonio — and McInnis — of Harlingen — headed the company and falsely told patients they had six months to live due to terminal illness to make them use their services.
“Rodney Mesquias and his co-conspirators preyed on the most vulnerable population — those in need of hospice and home health care — to line their pockets with millions of dollars and engage in lavish spending,” said Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, in a press release.
The Merida Health Care Group Inc. was a corporation that operated dozens of affiliates in Texas.
Its affiliates were authori
Source: LMT Online