SAN ANTONIO – Court records obtained by KSAT-12's Defenders reveal Dr. Jorge Zamora-Quezada knew he was under a criminal investigation by federal authorities for more than one year before he was arrested. They also show that patients and employees raised concerns about his medical practice ahead of the criminal charges.
Zamora-Quezada, 61, was arrested May 11 in McAllen on federal charges of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, health care fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. The indictment alleges Zamora-Quezada and others "falsely diagnosed vulnerable patients -- including the young, elderly and disabled, from the Rio Grande Valley, San Antonio and elsewhere -- with various degenerative diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis. He and his co-conspirators then administered chemotherapy and other toxic medications ot patients based on that false diagnosis," the government has said.
Zamora-Quezada is accused of using his million-dollar private jet or his Maserati to go between his offices in the Rio Grande Valley and San Antonio, and of using proceeds from the alleged fraud to buy private jets, luxury vehicles, high-end clothing and real estate in the United States and Mexico.
A document filed Monday requesting a "reasonable bond" be set, said Zamora-Quezada learned Feb. 3, 2017, that he was the target of a federal criminal investigation. Nearly four months later, his medical office and storage space were raided by investigators, who reportedly more than 175 patient records, as well as personal and business records. The document said Zamora-Quezada had been cooperating with investigators, responding to "at least 5 grand jury subpoenas that have been served on him."
Zamora-Quezada is being held without bond.
Other lawsuits filed against Zamora-Quezada
Six months before Zamora-Quezada learned federal investigators were zeroing in on him, he was sued in Hidalgo County by Amalia Mendoza. Court records show "Dr. Zamora-Quezada, a rheumatologist, treated Mendoza for rheumatoid Arthritis...despite knowing (Mendoza) had been diagnosed with chronic renal failure while Mendoza was undergoing kidney dialysis."
Zamora-Quezada is accused of prescribing methotrexate, which Mendoza alleged caused her to suffer "ulcers in her esophagus and mouth and a 'life-threatening low blood count of white blood cells."
That lawsuit seeks up to $1 million in damages. It is still pending.
In 2006, a federal jury ruled against Zamora-Quezada in a case alleging sexual discrimination, sexual harassment and a hostile work environment, that included lost wages and benefits. He was ordered to pay four women nearly $300,000 plus interest, as well as $124,000 in legal fees for their attorney fees.
Court filings made in March 2018 alleged Zamora-Quezada tried to delay a bankruptcy suit by Hitachi Medical Systems America, Inc., "because the pending criminal investigation would require [him] to invoke his Fifth Amendment privilege in the civil suit and denying him due process."
HMSA claimed "Zamora has continually obstructed, obfuscated, and acted in bad faith. His actions pre- and post-petition have resulted in additional litigation, including this adversary proceeding and others, alleging that he breached fiduciary duties and improperly transferred assets in a complicated shell game that now spans several cities and medical offices, and involves even his minor children, his former attorneys and at least one bank."
Zamora-Quezada's request to delay that matter was denied.
Doctor 'remained in the United States and continued to see his patients'
Zamora-Quezada's attorney is asking a judge to set an "appropriate and reasonable bond" in the criminal case.
The request said Zamora-Quezada was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, and moved to the U.S. in 1984 to complete his residency in internal medicine at Southwestern Hospital in Dallas. He obtained a degree in rheumatology/immunology at the New England Medical Center Hospital, then received a master's in public health from Harvard School of Public Health. Zamora-Quezada has practiced medicine in the Rio Grande Valley since 1999 and opened an office in San Antonio in 2006. He became a U.S. citizen in 2011.
Zamora-Quezada is married to a permanent resident, Meisa Zamora, "who has applied for U.S. citizenship," the document said.
"During their marriage, they had one child. Their blended family has seven children and all but one live in the United States," the document said. "Dr. Zamora has lived in the United States for over thirty-four years. He has significant ties to this country."
Zamora-Quezada's attorney said the doctor has offered to turn over his passport and that "there is no evidence that Dr. Zamora has attempted fo flee."
A federal judge has not yet ruled on the request to grant Zamora-Quezada bond while he awaits trial.