Federal Grand Jury Adds Two New Charges of Distribution of Controlled Substance Resulting in Death Against Carrizo Springs Doctor
In Del Rio, a federal grand jury added two new charges of distribution of a controlled substance resulting in death to an existing 20-count indictment returned in May against Dr. Alfonso Luevano, announced U.S. Attorney John F. Bash; Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent in Charge Will Glaspy, Houston Division; and, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.
The two new charges filed this week allege that Dr. Luevano, a Carrizo Springs doctor with multiple offices throughout the Southwest Texas border area, distributed Hydrocodone to two patients outside the usual course of medical practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose. One of the patients died as a result on April 28, 2017. The other patient died as a result on January 12, 2018.
Dr. Luevano, age 50, now faces one count of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance, two substantive counts of distribution of a controlled substance resulting in death, ten substantive counts of distribution of a controlled substance, one count of conspiracy to commit Health Care Fraud, five substantive counts of Health Care Fraud, and three counts of aggravated identity theft. Ofelia Martinez, a 51-year-old employee of Dr. Luevano and resident of Carrizo Springs, is also charged in both conspiracy counts, all five Health Care Fraud counts, and all three aggravated identity theft counts.
The superseding indictment alleges that Dr. Luevano regularly provided prescriptions for scheduled controlled substances – including Hydrocodone, Oxycodone, and fentanyl – to patients outside the bounds of accepted medical practice and for no legitimate medical purpose. Dr. Luevano is alleged to have provided these prescriptions after short or perfunctory office visits, and to have issued them without performing the examination necessary to justify the prescription of an opioid pain medication.
The superseding indictment also alleges that Dr. Luevano allowed and instructed nurse practitioners and physician assistants in his employ to provide Schedule II controlled substance prescriptions by pre-signing triplicate prescription forms and leaving them at his various offices to be filled out by his staff. Ms. Martinez is alleged to have assisted in this practice by transporting the pre-signed prescriptions to the offices and instructing the staff on how to fill them out.
Dr. Luevano is also alleged to have committed Health Care Fraud by billing Texas Medicaid for the illegal office visits performed by his medical staff, and by listing himself as the providing practitioner for appointments where he never saw the patient whatsoever. It is also alleged that he defrauded Medicaid on multiple instances by misstating the length of time spent with a patient, as well as the nature of the patient’s diagnosis. Ms. Martinez is alleged to have personally entered and submitted the fraudulent bills for the entire practice, and instructed medical staff to close medical records files in a certain manner so as to conceal their involvement in an appointment.
Both defendants were arrested in May 2019 and remain on $50,000 unsecured bonds pending trial.
Upon conviction, both defendants face up to 20 years in federal prison on the counts related to the distribution of controlled substances and aggravated identity theft, as well as up to ten years in federal prison on the Health Care Fraud counts. Dr. Luevano also faces no less than 20 years in federal prison upon conviction of distribution of a controlled substance resulting in death.
This indictment resulted from a continuing joint investigation by the DEA Prescription Drug Diversion Task Force, DEA Del Rio, and the Texas Attorney General Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Justin Chung and Joshua Banister are prosecuting this case on behalf of the Government.
It is important to note that an indictment is merely a charge and should not be considered as evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.