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Illegal Alien and Two Others Sentenced to Federal Prison in Organ Transplant Scheme

Jul 8, 2024

From the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Iowa

An illegal alien and two other individuals who conspired to obtain over $500,000 in federally funded health care benefits, including a kidney transplant, were sentenced to prison on June 24, 2024, and July 2, 2024.

  Jeremias Otoniel Herrera Rosales (“Herrera Rosales”), age 37, from Worthington, Minnesota, originally from Guatemala, received a 16-month prison term after a February 7, 2024, guilty plea to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud.

Jennifer Guadalupe Herrera (“Herrera”), age 43, from Worthington, Minnesota, received a one-month prison term after a February 9, 2024, guilty plea to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud.

Jaklyn Guerra (“Guerra”), age 52, from Wells, Minnesota, received a one-month prison term after a February 6, 2024, guilty plea to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud.

Evidence in the defendants’ criminal case established that Herrera Rosales was a citizen of Guatemala with no legal status in the United States.  No later than 2012, Guerra and Herrera provided Herrera Rosales with the name, date of birth, and social security number of D.G.  Herrera and Herrera Rosales were married, and Guerra is Herrera’s sister.

Beginning no later than 2015, Herrera Rosales assumed D.G.’s identity and used D.G.’s identification documents to apply for Medicare and Minnesota Medicaid benefits.  The United States funds Medicare and, through a cost-sharing arrangement, also partially funds Minnesota Medicaid benefits.  Between 2015 and

2020, Herrera Rosales obtained more than $500,000 in benefits from Medicare, Minnesota Medicaid, and the Social Security Administration using D.G.’s identity without D.G.’s knowledge or consent.

As part of the scheme, Herrera Rosales gained placement on the organ donor registry under the false and fraudulent pretense that he was D.G. and eligible for a kidney transplant.  In 2019, Herrera Rosales obtained a federally funded kidney transplant in Minnesota.  Herrera Rosales in his plea agreement admitted that, because he received the kidney transplant fraudulently, another person who needed the kidney did not receive it.

The defendants were sentenced in Sioux City by United States District Court Judge Leonard T. Strand.  Herrera Rosales was sentenced to 16 months of imprisonment, Herrera was sentenced to one month of imprisonment, and Guerra was sentenced to one month of imprisonment.  All three defendants were ordered to make $510,949.61 in restitution as a joint and several obligation.  Each defendant must also serve a three-year term of supervised release after their respective prison terms.  There is no parole in the federal system.

Herrera Rosales is being held in United States Marshal’s custody until he can be transported to a federal prison.  Herrera and Guerra were released on bonds previously set and are to surrender to the United States Marshal on future dates.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Timothy L. Vavricek and Ronald Timmons and investigated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, and the Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General. 

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