Former ambulance operator given 78-month federal prison sentence for Medicare fraud

By Jon Campisi | Sep 5, 2013

A suburban Philadelphia man has been sentenced to six-and-a-half years in

federal prison for a healthcare fraud scheme involving his Lower Bucks County-based ambulance company.

Aleksandr N. Zagorodony, 39, of Southampton, Bucks County, was ordered by U.S. District Judge Berle M. Schiller to spend 78 months behind bars for his involvement in a scheme to transport able-bodied patients by ambulance and billing Medicare for the medically unnecessary ambulatory services.

The defendant’s brother, Sergey Zagorodony, 36, of Philadelphia, was previously sentenced to 60 months in prison for his involvement in the scheme.

MedEx Ambulance, the Feasterville, Pa. company founded by Aleksandr Zagorodony, was ordered to be dissolved after it had been excluded from participation in Medicare and its assets were transferred to the federal government to satisfy restitution and forfeiture obligations, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Both of the Zagorodony brothers previously pleaded guilty to all counts in a 41-count indictment that included charges of healthcare fraud, false statements in connection with healthcare matters, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud and wire fraud.

The ambulance company, of which Aleksandr Zagorodony served as president, was accused of transporting patients who could walk and could travel safely by other means and who were not eligible for ambulance transportation under Medicare requirements.

Company officials then falsified reports to make it look as though the patients required ambulance transportation when the defendants and their employees knew otherwise, the U.S. Attorney’s Office stated.

The Medicare program ended up being bilked out of more than $3.4 million due to the healthcare fraud, according to the government.

In addition to the prison sentence, Schiller ordered restitution to Medicare in the amount of $3,418,358.81, in addition to a special assessment of $4,100 for each defendant and $16,400 for the corporation, as well as a three-year term of supervised release for the two brothers and five years of probation for the corporation.

The District Court also ordered the forfeiture of four ambulances worth $200,000, as well as the forfeiture of bank accounts worth more than $40,000, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The ambulance company also agreed to sell its headquarters and to provide the proceeds of the sale to the U.S. Government in partial satisfaction of the defendants’ restitution obligations.

The prosecutor’s office also said that the defendants and their wives vowed to sell their respective family homes and additional property with the proceeds of the sales also going toward restitution obligations.

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