In July of 2011, half dozen former state employees were arrested by the FBI at gunpoint. They were charged with defrauding the Medicaid program. They used their positions in the Texas Health and Human Services Commission to use funds to their own benefit to the tune of at least $200,000.
FBI Spokesperson Eric Vasys said, “This group of employees was able to identify a flaw in the system. Basically a blind spot. They were able to charge transportation services for existing Medicaid recipients for medical appointments that did not exist.” They routed money from the coffers of Medicaid into the bank accounts of friends and family members.
After an internal investigation at the THHSC, the employees were terminated for white collar crime accusations of health care fraud, conspiracy, embezzlement and making false statements. The ex-employees included Loretta Cortez, Patricia Cortez, Bernabe Hernandez, Arlene Rodriguez, Olivia Z. Cardenas and Caroline Hernandez.
Those people charged with these white collar crimes could have faced up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. They may also be responsible for repaying the money stolen anywhere from $9,300 to $93,000. Sentencing was finalized the week of December 10th. Loretta Cortez received the longest sentence of 18 months in prison and $115,416 in restitution for her role as the leader of this scheme.
White collar crimes are very serious and often require a lot of research to support a plea. If you are aware of a possible charge against you, the best advice is to seek legal assistance as soon as possible. Waiting will only make the case against you that much stronger. Contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer in San Antonio who can stand up for your rights and be your advocate.