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[MM Curator Summary]: The Yzaguirres stole $14M of your tax dollars thru a DME scam.
By Lukas I. Alpert
Jeremiah and Maria Yzaguirre are accused of using the money to buy luxury cars, real estate and pricey movie memorabilia
A Texas couple has been charged with ripping off Medicaid to the tune of $14 million by claiming to have repaired the same handful of motorized wheelchairs hundreds of times.
Many of the claims were made for patients who were bedridden and unable to use the wheelchairs at all, according to fraud, money-laundering and identity-theft charges filed in federal court in Brownsville, Texas.
Federal prosecutors accuse Jeremiah Yzaguirre, 44, and his wife, Maria Luisa Yzaguirre, 43, of Harlingen, Texas, of making the claims on behalf of 37 people who had been customers of their medical device company, Southwest Medical Homepatient.
The pair are accused of then using the proceeds of the alleged scam to buy a luxury $150,000 Acura NSX sports car, high-priced real estate and hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of cryptocurrency. They also allegedly amassed a collection of expensive movie memorabilia including a Johnny 5 robot prop from the 1986 film “Short Circuit,” worth over $100,000.
An attorney for Jermiah Yzaguirre, who was arrested on Aug. 22 on a sealed indictment, didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment. Maria Yzaguirre was arrested Wednesday morning and it wasn’t immediately clear if she had retained an attorney. She is expected to make her first appearance in court on Thursday afternoon, prosecutors said
According to court filings, between 2019 and 2023 the couple submitted claims on several occasions for hundreds of the same repairs to the same wheelchairs.
In one case, the Yzaguirres are accused of submitting over 300 repair claims for the same wheelchair, including 132 to fix its expandable controller, 107 to fix its motor gearbox and 84 to replace its battery.
According to court documents, prosecutors have asked the judge to allow them to seize hundreds of thousands of dollars in cryptocurrency wallets and regular cash accounts, the Acura sports car, drone equipment and a long list of valuable anime figurines and movie-themed Lego sets the couple owned.
If convicted, the Yzaguirres each face up to 10 years in prison for fraud and money laundering and two years for each count of aggravated identity theft.
-Lukas I. Alpert
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