A federal judge last week sentenced a Philadelphia man to two years in

prison a year after he was indicted for his role in a conspiracy to defraud the Medicare healthcare program.

U.S. District Judge Juan R. Sanchez, of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, handed down the 24-month prison sentence to Valeriy Davydchik, 59, who, along with six other employees of Penn Choice Ambulance Inc., were charged with healthcare fraud for their role in a scheme to defraud Medicare by transporting ambulance patients who actually had no physical mobility issues.

The conspiracy took place from September 2009 through January 2013, the government alleged.

The patients who were transported by Penn Choice were actually able to walk and could travel safely by means other than ambulance, meaning they were not eligible for ambulance transportation under Medicare requirements.

Penn Choice – the ambulance company itself was also indicted ­– then billed Medicare for what the government called the medically unnecessary services.

As a result of the scheme, Medicare paid out more than $1.5 million based on the fraudulent claims, court records show.

Davydchik, who joined Penn Choice in 2011 as an ambulance driver, transported patients who were able to walk to and from the ambulance, and often drove the individuals to medical appointments in his persona vehicle, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Philadelphia.

He also falsified records and delivered “kick-back payments” to Medicare beneficiaries to induce them to be transported by Penn Choice even though such transportation was not medically necessary, prosecutors stated.

Davydchik and the other defendants had already pleaded guilty in the case.

Sentencing is pending for the other participants in the scheme, who are Anna Mudrova, Yury Gerasyuk, Mikhail Vasserman, Irina Vasserman, Aleksandr Vasserman and Khusen Akhmedov.

In addition to the prison term, Davydchik was also ordered to pay restitution to Medicare.

He was also given a three-year term of supervised release and faces a monetary judgment of $870,310.14.

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