Additional Defendants Charged in Ambulance Health Care Fraud Scheme
PHILADELPHIA—Fritzroy Brown, 37, and Thael Kuran, 22, both of Philadelphia, PA, were charged today by indictment with conspiracy to commit health care fraud and making false statements in connection with health care matters, arising from their operation of Brotherly Love Ambulance, Inc., announced United States Attorney Zane David Memeger. Fritzroy Brown was also charged with theft of government funds and wire fraud for obtaining unemployment benefits while working full time at Brotherly Love Ambulance.
The indictment charges four other individuals with taking illegal kickbacks from Brotherly Love Ambulance and its employees. According to the indictment, Craig Brown, 46, Derrick Brown, 44, William Conner, 61, and Keisha Regusters, 37, all of Philadelphia, PA, received kickbacks from the company to induce them to ride with Brotherly Love Ambulance or to induce other Medicare beneficiaries to ride with Brotherly Love Ambulance. Craig Brown is also charged with making false statements in connection with health care matters; Derrick Brown and William Conner are charged with making false statements to federal agents.
The indictment alleges that the scheme involved more than $4 million in fraudulent claims submitted to Medicare. The defendants allegedly 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. The defendants, and others acting on their behalf, allegedly 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, were driven in privately owned vehicles, or drove themselves to their destinations. According to the indictment, the defendants, themselves, or through others, paid illegal kickbacks to the patients as part of the scheme. The indictment charges that the defendants billed Medicare for these ambulance services as if those services were medically necessary and, as a result of the fraudulent billing, the Medicare program sustained losses of more than $2 million for this medically unnecessary method of transportation.
It is further alleged that Craig Brown, Derrick Brown, William Conner, and Keisha Regusters each received payments in the form of cash, checks, or other valuable items, in order to induce them to ride Brotherly Love ambulances or allow Brotherly Love to bill for ambulance services that were never provided, or to recruit other patients for the same purpose. The indictment also alleges that Craig Brown signed paperwork indicating that he had been provided with ambulance services that he did not actually receive, and that Derrick Brown and William Conner made false statements to federal investigators about receiving money from Brotherly Love to ride Brotherly Love ambulances.
The company’s president, Feda Kuran, and a manager, Neel Jackson, have pleaded guilty in connection with their conduct related to the company.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the U.S. Department of Labor Office of the Inspector General. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Matthew J.D. Hogan and Paul W. Kaufman.