Three RGV Residents Plead Guilty in Illegal Kickback Schemes
McALLEN, Texas – Three Rio Grande Valley residents have been convicted for their roles in receiving illegal kickback payments in exchange for the referral of patients, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez.
Today, Brenda De La Cruz, 39, of Mission, entered a guilty plea to conspiracy to receive illegal kickbacks before U.S. District Judge Randy Crane. At plea hearings yesterday before U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez, Sonia Garcia, 51, of McAllen, and Luis Manuel Garza, 39, of Brownsville, also pleaded guilty to the same offense. All were previously charged in separate criminal informations on April 10 following an operation conducted by the RGV health care fraud task force targeting Medicare fraud and the payment of illegal kickbacks.
At their respective hearings, each admitted they engaged in conspiracies to refer Medicare beneficiaries to a home health agency in exchange for illegal kickback payments.
Sentencing for both Garcia and Garza has been set for July 20, 2017. De La Cruz will be sentenced July 11, 2017. At those times, all three face a maximum punishment of five years in federal prison.
The FBI, Department of Health and Human Services ‐ Office of Inspector General (OIG), Texas Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and the Texas Health and Human Services Commission – OIG conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Andrew Swartz and Michael Day are prosecuting the case.