A suburban Philadelphia private ambulance company and its two owners have pleaded
guilty in federal court to all charges in a 41-count indictment that charged them with fraudulently billing Medicare, a scheme that bilked the program out of more than $2.5 million.
MedEx Ambulance, Inc., which is located in Feasterville, Bucks County, and its proprietors, Aleksandr N. Zagordony and Sergey Zagorodny, admitted to having concocted a scheme in which they would file false reports to make it appear that patients who were, in fact, mobile needed ambulance transportation in order to get around.
The defendants were charged with healthcare fraud, making false statements in connection with healthcare matters, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud and wire fraud, according to U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger, the federal prosecutor for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, who announced the guilty pleas on April 2.
According to the prosecutor’s office, MedEx, which was incorporated in 2004, and its owners ran an ambulance company that transported patients who were able to walk and could travel safely by means other than ambulance transportation, and who were therefore ineligible for such transportation under Medicare requirements.
The two owners, who are brothers, would falsify reports to make it appear as though the patients needed ambulatory care, even though the people were perfectly able to get around on their own.
The defendants would then bill Medicare for the ambulance services as if they were medically necessary, a scheme that netted the defendants more than $2.5 million.
The brothers are looking at a maximum sentence of 370 years in federal prison for their crimes, three years of supervised release, a possible fine of $10.25 million, mandatory restitution currently estimated at more than $2.6 million and a $4,100 special assessment, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The company itself also faces what the prosecutor’s office called “significant financial penalties,” including criminal fines, restitution and forfeiture obligations.
The defendants could also be excluded from participating in federal healthcare programs in the future.
Authorities have already seized four ambulances owned by the company, which had cost about $200,000, and are now subject to forfeiture proceedings.
Three bank accounts were also seized by the government, with the funds from those accounts also expected to be subject to criminal forfeiture proceedings, according to the prosecutor’s office.
The defendants are scheduled to be sentenced on July 2 before U.S. District Judge Berle M. Schiller.