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San Antonio woman sentenced for health care fraud

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Texas says that a 46-year-old pharmaceutical sales representative made more than $1 million between February 2013 and December 2014 by participating in a fraudulent prescription scheme. The woman was sentenced on Jan. 16 to spend 30 months in a federal prison. This is to be followed by three years of supervised release. She was also ordered to pay restitution costs of $1,746,222. Federal authorities have already recovered approximately $88,000 from the woman by seizing and selling her San Antonio home.

The woman was sentenced as part of a plea agreement she entered into with federal prosecutors in February 2019. U.S. attorneys agreed to dismiss most of the charges against her in return for a guilty plea to a single conspiracy count. She has until June 15 to surrender to the U.S. Marshals Service and begin her custodial sentence.

Federal prosecutors say that the woman was part of a group of individuals including physicians and pharmacists who wrote or filled false prescriptions in and around San Antonio. The doctors involved are said to have written prescriptions for patients they never treated in return for kickbacks from pharmacies. The scheme is alleged to have cost private sector and government health insurance providers about $8,846,972. The case was examined by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Texas Attorney General's Office and the Texas Department of Public Safety.

The outcome of this case reveals that federal prosecutors are sometimes willing to make significant sentencing concessions in order to avoid arguing the facts of a complex case before a jury. Experienced criminal defense attorneys may seek to obtain more lenient treatment for clients accused of committing federal crimes by bringing up mitigating factors during plea discussions. Attorneys could mention that their clients are genuinely remorseful, prepared to make restitution and will cooperate fully with any ongoing investigations.

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