Tuesday, June 13, 2006

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Three Sentenced In Brownsville Pharmacy Scheme To Defraud Medicaid

BROWNSVILLE - Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit completed its case against three Rio Grande Valley defendants today as they were sentenced in connection with a Medicaid fraud ring operated through the Maldonado Pharmacy in Brownsville.

Eduardo Solis, 42, was sentenced Friday to 60 days in jail, plus 10 years probation following his guilty plea in April on charges of first-degree theft, first-degree insurance fraud and engaging in organized crime. Juana Garcia, 44, was sentenced Monday to 10 years probation on the same charges, and Hermelinda Altamarino, 36, was sentenced Friday to six years probation for third-degree felony insurance fraud.

Media Links

Juana Garcia
Video of Oct. 2005 arrest
Video of Oct 2005 arrest

Hermelinda Altamirano
Video of arrest
Video of Oct. 2005 Arrest

Eduardo Solis

“Our dismantling of this crime ring has resulted in most of the money being returned to the Medicaid program, and we expect full recovery of all money wrongly taken,” said Attorney General Abbott. “Our investigators will work tirelessly to root out all such frauds in this state and deliver justice to them.”

Unindicted pharmacist Felix Maldonado, 82, fully cooperated with Attorney General Abbott’s investigation to return the money. The Attorney General’s Office has recovered $466,000 of the $536,600 stolen from Medicaid through the forged prescription scheme.

Arrested by Medicaid Fraud officers last October following grand jury indictments, Solis, Atamarino and Garcia conspired with Maldanado to use forged and phone-in prescriptions based on stolen Medicaid recipient identification numbers. Maldonado would then bill Medicaid for reimbursement on prescriptions unwittingly signed by the physician employer of Altamarino. The prescriptions were never actually filled by Maldonado.

Cameron County Assistant District Attorney Charles Mattingly prosecuted the case based on evidence brought by Attorney General Abbott’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.