Doctor bought jet and Maserati from proceeds of unnecessary chemotherapy for his patients

Dr Jorge Zamora-Quezada accused of money-laundering operation funded by excessive, unwarranted medical procedures - including treatment for children and the elderly

Alex Horton
Friday 18 May 2018 10:55 BST
Jorge Zamora-Quezada's personal business jet has been seized by investigators
Jorge Zamora-Quezada's personal business jet has been seized by investigators

An American doctor bankrolled his “lavish” lifestyle by performing unnecessary chemotherapy and prescribing costly medication to potentially, thousands of patients, according to the US Justice Department.

Texas based Dr Jorge Zamora-Quezada, 61, flew on a six-seat Eclipse 500 business jet, bought with some of the $50 million (£37m) he was paid since 2000 for administering a host of treatments to countless patients.

On land he roared between various homes and properties in a blue 2017 Maserati Granturismo Coupe.

Investigators said that along with co-conspirators, he took part in a $240 million (£178m) healthcare fraud scheme and international money-laundering operation funded by excessive and unwarranted medical procedures - including treatment for children and the elderly.

The seven-count charge against Dr Zamora-Quezada could land him in prison for decades.

He remains in custody and a court date has been set for 2 July, Justice Department spokeswoman Nicole Navas Oxman said.

“His patients trusted him and presumed his integrity; in return he allegedly engaged in a scheme of false diagnoses and bogus courses of treatment ... with no regard for patient well-being,” CJ Porter, a special agent with the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Inspector General, said in a statement earlier this week.

Dr Zamora-Quezada owned medical practices across Texas, primarily practising rheumatology. But various shell organisations were built to obscure the flow of money stemming from excessive and fraudulent treatments, the indictment said.

​​It is unclear how many patients could be affected. The charge sheet names more than a dozen people but also notes the doctor hid thousands of medical records in a dilapidated barn.

ProPublica found that he saw more than 1,500 patients in 2015 alone and was paid $1,672 (£1,237) per patient - well above the $955 (£706) average in Texas.

A call to a phone number listed under Dr. Zamora-Quezada went unanswered, as did one of his Texas practices, Arthritis Ost.

Nora Rodriguez, a patient of Dr Zamora-Quezada, told CNN that he yelled and threw her out of his office after she questioned his treatment.

“He kept getting upset when I was asking him why I was feeling worse and not getting better,” she said.

Dr Zamora-Quezada's plane and Maserati have been seized by authorities, along with the various real estate properties that investigators allege he used to rent out, under the appearance of generating legal income.

Properties in Texas, Colorado and California were among those seized, in addition to a pair of penthouses in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

The doctor is not new to scrutiny.

In 2006, the Texas Medical Board accused him of prescribing a drug “inconsistent with public health and welfare” and of “billing for treatment that was improper, unreasonable, or medically or clinically unnecessary,” The Dallas News reported in 2010.

Dr Zamora-Quezada later settled for a public reprimand, monitoring by other doctors and a $30,000 (£22,191) fine.

He had received $42,450 (£31,400) over a span of a year from Eli Lilly, a pharmaceutical company, The Dallas Morning News reported, citing ProPublica data. Eli Lilly did not respond to questions on Dr. Zamora-Quezada's total revenue from the company or why he was paid by it.

He was also accused of sexually assaulting four former employees.

A Yellow Pages review of his practice in 2015 said: “Dr Zamora has no time for returning patients only for new ones ... be prepared to wait for hours because [they] overbook people like crazy. JUST DON'T GO!!”

Washington Post.

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