Doctor accused of false diagnoses in $240M health care scheme
A Texas doctor is accused of falsely diagnosing patients with diseases and administering chemotherapy and other treatments to people who didn’t need it, reports said.
Dr. Jorge Zamora-Quezada has been charged in a $240 million health care fraud and money-laundering scheme that included the false diagnoses and improperly prescribed meds and treatments, ABC 7 reported.
Prosecutors allege the 61-year-old rheumatologist performed the unnecessary medical procedures, and falsely diagnosed patients with degenerative diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, to fund a lavish lifestyle complete with a million-dollar private jet, luxury properties from Aspen, Colorado, to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and a Maserati emblazoned with his initials.
Maria Zapata, a former patient of Zamora-Quezada, told CNN she saw the doctor a little over five years ago because her knees were bothering her, the outlet reported. He diagnosed her with arthritis and started giving her injections in her knee to “strengthen the cartilage,” she said.
Her husband questioned the procedure; Zamora-Quezada assured them it would help, but that wasn’t the case. Soon, Zapata’s legs were discolored and her family doctor told her she didn’t have arthritis.
Another former patient, Nora Rodriguez, said Zamora-Quezada kicked her out of his office when she questioned why she wasn’t getting any better despite all of the medication she was given, CNN reported.
“He kept getting upset when I was asking him why I was feeling worse and not getting better,” Rodriguez said.
“He yelled and told me, ‘You are no longer my patient; get out of this office.’ I’m getting chills remembering this.”
The indictment alleges the doc used his offices to assist an extensive international money-laundering scheme with ties to Mexico in addition to the false diagnoses, the outlet reported.
The FBI is seeking other potential victims of Zamora-Quezada and is asking the public to reach out through their victims hotline if they were a patient of his between January 2000 and May 2018.