Jury selected in doctor’s healthcare fraud trial

A jury panel of 10 women and four men were selected Wednesday to decide the case of Dr. Jorge Zamora Quezada and his co-defendants who are accused of participating in a healthcare fraud scheme.

The 12 jurors and alternates were selected after an hours-long process that began Wednesday morning and concluded around 2:30 p.m.

They were later assembled into the courtroom where U.S. District Judge Ricardo H. Hinojosa reviewed the jury instructions, which included not discussing the case with anyone, not reading or listening to anything regarding the case on their own, not conducting their own research, not to form an opinion until they have considered all the evidence and to consider each defendant separately and individually.

The jurors are allowed to take notes, were reminded that the indictment against the defendants is an accusation and nothing more, that the burden of proof lies upon the government and that it was up to them to decide which witnesses and testimony to believe.

The 11-count indictment against the four defendants — which also includes the doctor’s wife, Meisy Zamora, and two of their employees, Estella Santos Natera and Felix Ramos — alleges they participated in a scheme to defraud health insurers by misdiagnosing and over-treating patients.

Additionally, they are facing charges of money laundering and tampering.

Zamora is said to have supervised employees and overseen operations at Zamora-Quezada’s medical practice, according to the superseding indictment, and is accused of directing staff to increase the number of patient office visits and the number of medical procedures performed on patients in order to generate profits.

The government alleges that the doctor and his wife, along with Santos Natera, created false records in response to a grand jury subpoena and that the couple, along with Ramos, made financial transactions with the proceeds from the scheme to, at least in part, conceal the source of the funds, according to the superseding indictment.

After delivering the jury instructions, the judge dismissed the panel for the day.

Opening statements are scheduled to begin Thursday morning.