August 17, 2009
WOMAN CONVICTED IN FAKE FLU VACCINE CASE SENTENCED TO PRISON FOR VIOLATING PROBATION
(HOUSTON) – Martha Denise Gonzales, who was convicted in 2007 and sentenced to a five-year-term of probation for her involvement in the distribution of a fake flu vaccine to more than 1000 persons in the Houston area, has been sentenced to 21 months in federal prison for violating the terms of her probation, United States Attorney Tim Johnson announced today.
In the summer and fall of 2005, more than 1,100 Exxon workers, dozens of senior citizens at local residence homes as well as other local citizens received shots of what was eventually determined by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be bacteriostatic water, not legitimate flu vaccine.
Gonzales, 52, was charged for her involvement in the scheme, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five years probation and fined $5,000 in May 2007. Gonzales was arrested in mid-July 2009 after the issuance of a warrant on a petition to revoke her probation for allegedly committing criminal offenses and failing to report to her probation officers. At a hearing before United States District Judge Kenneth M. Hoyt this afternoon, Gonzales pleaded true to the allegations. She admitted she has committed three felonies for which she has been convicted, all in Liberty County, including two charges for forging checks from a local business in June 2008 and stealing four night deposits from an area restaurant in October and November 2008. She also admitted failing to report to her federal probation officer for nearly a year and failing to alert probation that she had changed addresses.
Gonzales has been in federal custody without bond since her mid-July 2009 arrest and will remain in custody to serve her sentence.
This case was the result of the investigative efforts of the FBI, the Texas Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Unit, Health & Human Services Office of Inspector General - Office of Investigations, the Texas Department of State Health Services, the FDA and the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Special Assistant United States Attorney Suzanne Bradley prosecuted the original case as well as this revocation.
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