Monday 22 October 2018

Doctor allegedly bought jet and Maserati from proceeds of unnecessary chemotherapy for patients

Dr Jorge Zamora-Quezada' personal jet
Dr Jorge Zamora-Quezada' personal jet

Alex Horton

An American doctor bankrolled his “lavish” lifestyle by performing unnecessary chemotherapy and prescribing costly medication to potentially, thousands of patients, according to the US Justice Department.

Texas based Dr Jorge Zamora-Quezada, 61, flew on a six-seat Eclipse 500 business jet, bought with some of the $50 million (£37m) he was paid since 2000 for administering a host of treatments to countless patients.

On land he roared between various homes and properties in a blue 2017 Maserati Granturismo Coupe.

Investigators said that along with co-conspirators, he took part in a $240 million (£178m) healthcare fraud scheme and international money-laundering operation funded by excessive and unwarranted medical procedures - including treatment for children and the elderly.

The seven-count charge against Dr Zamora-Quezada could land him in prison for decades.

He remains in custody and a court date has been set for 2 July, Justice Department spokeswoman Nicole Navas Oxman said.

“His patients trusted him and presumed his integrity; in return he allegedly engaged in a scheme of false diagnoses and bogus courses of treatment ... with no regard for patient well-being,” CJ Porter, a special agent with the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Inspector General, said in a statement earlier this week.

Dr Zamora-Quezada owned medical practices across Texas, primarily practising rheumatology. But various shell organisations were built to obscure the flow of money stemming from excessive and fraudulent treatments, the indictment said.

​​It is unclear how many patients could be affected. The charge sheet names more than a dozen people but also notes the doctor hid thousands of medical records in a dilapidated barn.

ProPublica found that he saw more than 1,500 patients in 2015 alone and was paid $1,672 (£1,237) per patient - well above the $955 (£706) average in Texas.

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