Thursday, May 24, 2012

Brownsville Mother and Daughter-in-Law Handed Sentences in Health Care Fraud Scheme

Felicitas Velez Alanis, 51, and her daughter-in-law Erika Ortega Alanis, 27, both of Brownsville, Texas, have been sentenced to federal prison for conspiring to defraud the Texas Medicaid program, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today along with Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott. The pair plead guilty on February 6, 2012 to conspiracy to commit health care fraud and have remained on bond pending sentencing.

Today, U.S. District Judge Randy Crane sentenced Felicitas and Erika Alanis to serve 36 and 32 months, respectively. Both women will be placed on supervision for a period of three years following their release from prison. In addition to their sentences, Judge Crane also ordered both women to repay the Texas Medicaid program the sum of $616,390.

Felicitas Alanis was owner and operator of Vel-Ala Inc., a Medicaid provider, which did business as Nisi Medical Equipment and Supplies in and around Brownsville, Harlingen, and elsewhere in South Texas. Her daughter-in-law assisted in the day-to-day operation of the company. Felicitas and Erika Alanis admitted at their plea hearing on February 6, 2012 that they conspired to send false and fraudulent bills to the Texas Medicaid program in the name of Nisi Medical Equipment and Supplies for medical supplies that they did not provide to Medicaid beneficiaries. Between on or about January 1, 2005 through on or about October 12, 2006, the pair regularly billed the Texas Medicaid program for 200 boxes of alcohol preparation pads when, in fact, they knew that only one box had been delivered at a time. As a result, the pair received $600 from each fraudulent billing rather than $3 for the one box of alcohol preparation pads that they actually delivered.

Previously on bond, Judge Crane ordered Felicitas Alanis to begin serving her sentence immediately and was taken into custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility, where she will serve her sentence. Judge Crane allowed Erika Ortega Alanis to remain on bond but ordered her to surrender to the United States Marshals Service on June 8, 2012, pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility.

The investigation leading to the charges in this case was conducted by the FBI and the Texas Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. Assistant United States Attorney Casey N. MacDonald and Special Assistant United States Attorney Rex G. Beasley prosecuted the case.

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