Superior Ambulance and Owners Charged in Multi-Million Dollar Health Care Fraud Scheme
Medicare Billed $4.4 Million for Unnecessary Ambulance Rides
|U.S. Attorney’s Office September 25, 2013|
PHILADELPHIA—An indictment was unsealed today charging Superior EMS Ambulance Company, operating from Huntingdon Valley, PA, its owner, Beana Bell, 31, and operator Vadim Fleshler, 32, both of Philadelphia, with conspiracy to commit health care fraud. According to the indictment, the case involves a scheme in which the defendants submitted more than $4.4 million in fraudulent claims to Medicare. The defendants were also charged with making false statements in connection with health care matters. The defendants were arrested this morning. The indictment was announced by United States Attorney Zane David Memeger, Special Agent-in-Charge Nick DiGiulio with Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General and FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Ed Hanko.
The indictment alleges that the defendants conspired to defraud Medicare by recruiting patients who were able to walk and could travel safely by means other than ambulance and who, therefore, were not eligible for ambulance transportation under Medicare requirements. It is alleged that the defendants, and others acting on their behalf, falsified reports to make it appear that the patients needed to be transported by ambulance when the defendants knew that the patients could be transported safely by other means and that many of them walked to the ambulance for transport. It is further alleged that the defendants themselves, or through others, paid illegal kickbacks to the patients as part of the scheme. The defendants allegedly billed Medicare for these ambulance services as if those services were medically necessary and, as a result of the allegedly fraudulent billing, the Medicare program sustained losses of more than $2.4 million for this medically unnecessary method of transportation.
If convicted, the defendants face substantial terms of imprisonment, fines and are subject to criminal forfeiture proceedings with possible exclusion from participating in federal health care programs; Superior EMS Ambulance Company faces significant financial penalties, including substantial criminal fines, restitution and forfeiture obligations.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney M. Beth Leahy.
An Indictment is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.