Ildefonso Ortiz | The Monitor
McALLEN -- The owner of Victory EMS, a local ambulance company, will spend the weekend in jail following his indictment on multiple health care fraud charges.
On Friday morning, Victor Gonzalez turned himself in to federal authorities and was taken before U.S. Magistrate Judge Peter Ormsby, who read him his rights and ordered he be held without bond pending a detention hearing next week.
On Wednesday, a grand jury turned in a nine count sealed indictment that charges 26-year-old Gonzalez with five counts of health care fraud, three counts of identity theft and one count of mail fraud. After his arrest, the indictment was unsealed and became public record.
The businessman is accused of submitting false claims to the U.S. Medicare and Texas Medicaid programs for ambulance services that were not provided, according to the indictment.
The federal and state programs provide government funding for low-income patients seeking medical assistance.
From December 2012 to February 2013, Gonzalez submitted 621 false claims worth $504,054 to both programs. Gonzalez was paid $339,730.26 from the claims made, the indictment says.
In order to submit the false claims, Gonzalez would use the patient’s information without their knowledge.
If convicted Gonzalez could get 20 years in prison for the mail fraud charge while each of the health care fraud charges carries a possible 10-year prison term. If Gonzalez is convicted of identity theft, he would be ordered to serve a mandatory 2-year prison term that would run consecutively, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.