Hefty bonds set for siblings charged in $80 million RGV healthcare fraud scheme

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A brother and sister from Hidalgo County have pleaded not guilty to an 18-count indictment accusing them of defrauding a federal workers’ compensation program out of $80 million.

Ricardo Cano, 46, of McAllen, was arraigned on Thursday while his sister, Rosito Cano Meeks, 56, of Edinburg, had her arraignment on Monday.

U.S. Magistrate Judge J. Scott Hacker set Cano’s bond at $500,000 with a $25,000 cash deposit and set Meeks’ bond at $100,000 with a $10,000 cash deposit.

Federal court records as of Friday morning did not indicate that they had bailed out and Meeks’ attorney on Tuesday filed a motion asking for reconsideration on her cash deposit.

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“After a review of Defendant’s financial situation and her immediate family’s ability to post a cash deposit, among other requirements set forth by the Court during the detention hearing, it has become clear to Defendant’s counsel that bail may not be made,” the motion stated.

As of Friday morning, federal courts did not reflect a ruling on the request.

The siblings were indicted on July 25, but were not arrested until Aug. 24.

The indictment alleges that Cano and Meeks allegedly billed for more hours of physical therapy than actually occurred.

They are facing charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and healthcare fraud while Cano faces additional counts of money laundering for the alleged scheme that spanned between 2014 and 2019.

Federal prosecutors say Cano, a physician’s assistant who made his employees call him “Dr. Cano,” operated the Texas Federal Wellness Center, which had locations in Brownsville, Corpus Christi, Edinburg, El Paso, Harlingen and McAllen, along with Meeks, who was in charge of billing.

Brother, sister duo accused of defrauding federal program of $80 million due in court

The indictment alleges Meeks and Cano billed the Department of Labor’s Office of Worker’s Compensation Program for physical therapy services provided to injured federal employees.

Cano, who is not a doctor, had no authority to provide these services without an actual doctor.

Federal prosecutors say Cano entered into an agreement with a Travis County doctor identified only as “Physician 1” who sold his medical license to Cano.

A final pre-trial hearing has been scheduled for October, though these dates will likely change.