McAllen-Area Doctor’s Assistant Convicted in Illegal Kickback Scheme
MCALLEN, TX—Argentina Cavazos, 57, has pleaded guilty to illegal remunerations for her role in a scheme to solicit and obtain illegal kickbacks in exchange for patient referrals, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson.
Cavazos, a doctor’s assistant for a McAllen area physician, admitted to engaging in a kickback scheme by exchanging referrals of Medicare beneficiaries for money. From Nov. 15, 2010, to July 9, 2012, Cavazos received 11 illegal kickback checks in exchange for referrals of Medicare beneficiaries, whose information was used by home health care companies to bill Medicare. Cavazos admitted to using her position as a doctor’s assistant to gain access to patient information. Cavazos provided the patient information to another person who then compensated Cavazos with checks of various amounts.
U.S. District Judge Randy Crane accepted the plea today and has set sentencing for Oct. 15, 2015. At that time, Cavazos faces up to five years in federal prison and a possible $25,000 fine.
The investigation leading to the charges was conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services‐Office of Inspector General and the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Day is prosecuting the case.