Harlingen residents charged in multi-million dollar power wheelchair fraud scheme

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Two Harlingen residents who operated a durable medical equipment company have been charged with defrauding Medicare, announced U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani.

A 16-count indictment charges Maria Luisa Yzaguirre, 43, of Harlingen, and Jeremiah Yzaguirre, 44, also of Harlingen, with conspiracy to commit health care fraud, aggravated identity theft and money laundering.

Additionally, the indictment alleges they used proceeds of the fraud scheme to purchase millions of dollars in real estate, cryptocurrency, stock, a luxury sports car and expensive movie memorabilia.

The charges allege that between 2019 and 2023, the Yzaguires submitted over $14 million in claims to Medicare for power wheelchairs, power scooters, parts and repairs for 37 individuals. They allegedly billed Medicare multiple times more than $600,000 for parts and repairs for one Medicare beneficiary and falsely claimed to have replaced expensive parts on several occasions.

According to the indictment, the Yzaguires billed Medicare approximately $736,072 in parts and repairs for one patient – submitting repair claims 132 times for the expandable controller, 107 times for the motor-gearbox and 84 times for the battery. The patient was bed bound and did not have access to the power wheelchair when the repairs were allegedly conducted.

Maria Luisa Yzaguirre was taken into custody Aug. 30. She is expected to make her initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ignacio Torteya III at 9:30 a.m. Aug. 31.

Jeremiah Yzaguirre was arrested Aug. 22.

If convicted, they each face up to 10 years in prison for health care fraud and money laundering and a mandatory two years for each count of aggravated identity theft, which muse be served consecutively to any other prison term imposed.

The FBI, Department of Health and Human Services-Office of Inspector General, Texas Health and Human Services, Texas Attorney General – Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and Texas Department of Insurance conducted the investigation.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Andrew Swartz and Ana Cano are prosecuting the case.