Just a couple of days after the owners of a Bucks County ambulance service pleaded guilty
to bilking Medicare out of $2.5 million in a healthcare fraud scheme, another private ambulance operator was charged with the very same crime.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania announced on April 4 that it has charged Philadelphia resident Feda Kuran, 37, with engaging in a scheme that defrauded the Medicare program out of $2 million for inappropriate billing.
According to the prosecutor’s office, Kuran billed Medicare for ambulance services that were not medically necessary, for services that were not actually provided, and for services that were induced by illegal kickbacks.
Kuran was charged in a criminal information with healthcare fraud and violating the federal Anti-Kickback Statute.
The filing of a criminal information as opposed to an indictment generally signals that a defendant plans to plead guilty.
Kuran started Brotherly Love Ambulance Inc. in the summer of 2010 with who officials call a “co-schemer,” although that other person is not identified in the news release announcing the charges against Kuran.
Kuran, or others acting at her direction, allegedly transported patients by ambulance even though the patients not only didn’t physically require ambulance services, but were not even eligible for such service under the Medicare and Medicaid requirements, the prosecutor’s office stated.
The defendant and others also billed the programs for transportation services given to patients by ambulance company employees in their personal vehicles, or those who took public transportation to their destinations.
“In addition, it is alleged that the defendant and other employees paid kickbacks to some patients to induce them to allow Brotherly Love Ambulance, Inc. to transport them and paid other patients so that the ambulance company could use those patients’ information to bill for transportation that Brotherly Love Ambulance never actually provided,” states a U.S. Attorney’s news release. “Finally, it is alleged that the defendant received kickbacks from other ambulance companies to refer patients to other ambulance companies.”
Kuran faces a maximum possible of 15 years in federal prison if convicted, in addition to six years of supervised release, a $250,000 fine, a $200 special assessment and an order of restitution and forfeiture, the latter of which is currently estimated to be about $2 million.
Just days earlier, two brothers who operate a similar private ambulance agency in neighboring Bucks County pleaded guilty to an almost identical scheme. The face a combined hundreds of years in prison.