McALLEN, Texas ‐ A 56-year-old woman has been taken into custody on charges related to a healthcare fraud and kickback scheme, announced Jennifer B. Lowery.
Nora Alaniz, South Padre Island, is set to make her initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge J. Scott Hacker at 10 a.m. today. Previously charged was Dr. Tajul Shams Chowdhury, 72, McAllen. He will again appear on the charges in the superseding indictment in the near future.
The 16-count superseding indictment returned June 21 charges Alaniz and Chowdhury with conspiracy to pay and receive illegal kickbacks in exchange for the referral of prescriptions for compound drugs.
Chowdhury and five others were originally charged July 15, 2021, for conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud, multiple counts of healthcare fraud, illegal kickback conspiracy and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
If convicted on the new charges, Chowdhury and Alaniz face up to five years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine.
U.S. Postal Service – Office of Inspector General (OIG), FBI, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, Department of Labor – OIG, Veterans Affairs – OIG, Texas Health and Human Services and the Department of Health and Human Services – OIG, Texas Attorney General's Office - Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and Texas Department of Insurance conducted the investigation. The South Padre Island Police Department provided assistance with the arrest. Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Swartz is prosecuting the case.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.