Gabriela Alegria of Miami, Florida was arrested last Friday for allegedly attempting to illegally inject an undercover agent with Botox. Before her arrest, Alegria, 43, was awaiting sentencing for her involvement in a Medicare fraud case.
Alegria was ordered to be held in lieu of a $50,000 bond during her bond hearing last week with the added stipulation that she remain under house arrest should she post bail. News sources did not specify an attorney for Alegria.
According to the arrest report, Alegria was allegedly caught in the act at a home in West Kendall by an undercover Miami-Dade detective posing as a customer in need of a Botox fill in the forehead area. The prosecutor handling the case told a bond-court judge that Alegria had “prepared a syringe” filled what he hopes “was Botox,” implying that Alegria was using some other substance to perform the illegal cosmetic procedure. It is not clear whether any testing has been done on the substance in the syringe.
Before her arrest, Alegria was awaiting sentencing for a money laundering charge in a federal health-care fraud case. She was arrested in July and is believed to have defrauded the government of more than $700,000. She pleaded guilty in federal court and was released on bond.
Miami-Dade has produced several high-profile arrests for health care fraud and illegal cosmetic procedures in recent years. Last month, federal officials arrested one of the state’s wealthiest healthcare operators for what has been dubbed the “largest single criminal health-care fraud case to ever be brought against individuals” by the U.S. Justice Department.
The case involves Philip Esformes, Odette Barcha, and Arnaldo Carmouze. The trio are believed to have collectively stolen $1 billion from the government over the past decade.
Esformes, 47, is the owner of 30 nursing facilities in Miami. Together with Barcha, Esformes is facing charges for money laundering, health care fraud, conspiracy, and obstructing justice. Carmouze is only facing the first three charges.
According to court records, Esformes and his co-conspirators reportedly gave unnecessary medical services to patients in his facilities which they billed to Medicaid and Medicare. Esformes also purportedly “hooked” his patients on narcotics to keep them in his facilities, allowing the alleged fraud to continue. If convicted, Esformes and his co-conspirators face life imprisonment under federal sentencing guidelines.