Former Pharr Commissioner Indicted on Health Care Fraud
MCALLEN – A former Pharr city commissioner and the owner of Penitas Family Pharmacy, aka Riverside Pharmacy, were indicted in connection with a plot to defraud Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas.
A federal grand jury returned a 16-count indictment against Omar Espericueta and former Pharr City Commissioner Oscar Elizondo on July 18.
It was unsealed in its entirety Friday afternoon as Elizondo, 47, of Pharr, turned himself in to authorities. He is expected to go before a judge on Monday.
The owner of the pharmacy, Espericueta, 45, of Mission, was taken into custody Thursday and made his initial appearance before a U.S. Magistrate judge on Friday.
Both men are charged with conspiracy to commit health care fraud, seven counts of health care fraud and six counts of aggravated identity theft.
According to the indictment, their plan involved submitting more than $1.7 million in fraudulent claims to Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas for expensive pain patches and scar creams. The city of Mission, city of Pharr and Point Isabel Independent School District are some of the victims named in the indictment.
Court records showed Elizondo offered meals, drinks and promises of free prescription pain patches and scar creams to entice employees to turn over their insurance information.
The insurance information and fraudulent prescriptions were then allegedly used to submit fraudulent and medically unnecessary claims to Blue Cross.