Tara Rios Ybarra charged in Medicaid fraud case

Texas State Rep. Tara Rios Ybarra was temporarily held in federal custody this morning after being charged in a Medicaid fraud case involving a McAllen oral surgeon.

Federal court records show that Ybarra (D-South Padre Island) was scheduled to appear for an initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Felix Recio in Brownsville at 10 a.m. Wednesday.

Court records show that Ybarra is listed as a defendant in a Medicaid fraud case filed against McAllen oral surgeon Gary Morgan Schwarz and six other people.

A federal grand jury handed down a 22-count indictment against 57-year-old Schwarz and seven others last week.

The Valley Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (VOMS) clinic owner is accused of paying four area dentists to receive referrals for Medicaid recipients.

McAllen dentist Willis David Egger and Mission dentist Reynaldo Casares were arrested on Tuesday.

Ybarra, who works as a dentist in Brownsville, appears to be the third dentist in the case.

The identity of the fourth dentist was not available as of Wednesday morning.

Ybarra lost her seat as District 43 State Represesntative to J.M. Lozano of Kingsville during the Democratic Party Primaries in March 2010.

District 43 includes Jim Hogg, Brooks, Kleberg, Kenedy, Willacy and part of Cameron County.

Lozano won the party nomination but still has to be elected in November.

Ybarra is expected to hold on to the District 43 seat until January.

Ybarra release the following statement through her attorney Rene Oliveira, who is also a Texas State Representative:

"I am shocked, surprised, and disappointed at the allegations made against me. I have devoted myself to my dental patients and to following high ethical standards in my professional capacity as a dentist for 12 years. I would respectfully ask that people not rush to judgement until all the facts are disclosed."