Ambulance Company Owner Charged in Medicare Fraud
PHILADELPHIA—Zahar Tkach, also known as Alex Tkach, of Bensalem, PA, was charged by indictment, unsealed today, in a scheme to defraud Medicare of approximately $1.25 million by charging for unnecessary ambulance services, announced by United States Attorney Zane David Memeger. Tkach is charged with health care fraud, obstruction of a federal audit and laundering criminal proceeds.
Tkach owned NovaCare Ambulance Services, Inc. (also called “Novocare Ambulance”) and Cardiac Care Ambulance, Inc. (“Cardiac Care”), operating primarily in Philadelphia and the surrounding counties. According to the indictment, between June 2008 and April 2012, Tkach recruited and transported dialysis patients who needed treatments three times per week, thereby allowing him to bill Medicare extensively for those patients, when the ambulance services were not medically necessary for those patients. When Medicare audited the 2011 billings of Novocare and Cardiac Care, the defendant is alleged to have obstructed the audits by altering, and directed employees to alter, ambulance transport records and he falsified medical authorization forms, all of which he submitted to the Medicare auditors to support the fraudulent billings.
According to the indictment, the two ambulance companies shared resources, including employees and patients. Tkach managed both companies’ operations, finances and billings. The defendant also is alleged to have laundered the fraud proceeds in financial transactions of $10,000 or more.
Tkach was charged with 15 counts of health care fraud, two counts of obstructing a federal audit, and two counts of laundering monetary transactions over $10,000. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison for each count of health care fraud; up to five years in prison for each count of obstruction of a federal audit; and 10 years in prison for money laundering. The defendant also faces a possible fine of $250,000 per count.
This case was investigated by the FBI and the Department of Health and Human Services-Office of the Inspector General. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrea Foulkes.
An Indictment is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.