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Brownsville Mother and Daughter-in-Law Guilty in Health Care Fraud Scheme

McALLEN, TX—Felicitas Velez Alanis, 51, and her daughter-in-law, Erika Ortega Alanis, 27, both of Brownsville, Texas, have entered pleas of guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today along with Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott.

Felicitas Alanis owned and operated Vel-Ala Inc.—a Texas corporation which did business as Nisi Medical Equipment and Supplies in and around Brownsville, Harlingen and elsewhere in South Texas. Her daughter-in-law, Erika Alanis, assisted in the day-to-day operation of the company. Nisi Medical Equipment and Supplies was enrolled with the Texas Medicaid program to provide durable medical equipment (DME) to Texas Medicaid beneficiaries. The term DME means medical equipment and supplies used in the home and includes blood-testing strips, blood glucose monitors, alcohol wipes, diabetic supplies, and other medically necessary items.

The government alleged that the two women submitted more than $646,000 in false and fraudulent bills to the Texas Medicaid program for diabetic supplies which Nisi Medical Equipment and Supplies never purchased or supplied to Medicaid beneficiaries. The delivery records and billing records of Nisi show that the Texas Medicaid program was routinely billed for more items than were actually delivered and the purchase records revealed that the Texas Medicaid program was billed for medical supplies and items that Nisi had never purchased. Medicaid paid more than $554,000 on the false and fraudulent claims submitted.

Felicitas and Ericka Alanis admitted in court today that they conspired to send false and fraudulent bills to the Texas Medicaid program in the name of Nisi Medical Equipment and Supplies between on or about Jan. 1, 2005, through on or about Oct. 12, 2006, and that they routinely billed the Medicaid program for allegedly providing 200 boxes of alcohol prepartion pads to Medicaid beneficiaries when in fact only one box of alcohol preparation pads was ever delivered.

The women have been allowed to remain on bond pending their sentencing hearing, which is set for April 16, 2012, at which time they face a maximum punishment of 10 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine plus up to three years of post-prison supervised release. Restitution may also be ordered.

The investigation leading to the charges in this case was conducted by the FBI and the Texas Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. Assistant United States Attorney Casey N. MacDonald and Special Assistant United States Attorney Rex G. Beasley are prosecuting the case.

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