Pharr Woman Pleads Guilty to Health Care Fraud
|U.S. Attorney’s Office December 21, 2009|
McALLEN, TX—A former employee of a foot care clinic in Pharr/San Juan, Texas, has pleaded guilty to health care fraud, United States Attorney Tim Johnson and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott announced today.
Manuela K. Alana, 40, of Pharr, Texas, pleaded guilty to submitting false and fraudulent claims to both the Medicare and Medicaid health care programs for payment of services performed as an unlicensed podiatrist today before United States District Judge Randy Crane.
Alana was indicted in September 2009, along with the licensed podiatrist who owned and operated the Valley Medical Foot Care in Pharr/San Juan, Texas. Alana admitted that from April 29, 2006, through May 6, 2006, claims totaling approximately $17,069 were submitted to both Medicare and Medicaid for podiatric services that falsely claimed the licensed podiatrist had performed the service when, in actuality, Alana—an unlicensed and unsupervised podiatrist—performed the services. Overall, since August 2004, more than $536,000 was submitted in false and fraudulent claims to both Medicare and Medicaid for podiatric services performed by Alana.
Alana faces a maximum punishment of up to 10 years in prison and a fine not to exceed $250,000 at sentencing which has been set for March 9, 2010, at 2:00 p.m. The court has permitted Alana to remain on bond pending sentencing.
The investigation leading to the charges in this case was conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services - Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), the FBI, and the Texas Attorney General’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney Carolyn Ferko is prosecuting the case.