Ambulance Driver Admits Role in Health Care Fraud Conspiracy
PHILADELPHIA—Thael Kuran, 23, of Philadelphia, PA, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to commit health care fraud and making false statements in a health care matter. The charges stem from a fraud scheme involving Brotherly Love Ambulance, Inc. U.S. District Court Judge Gerald J. Pappert scheduled a sentencing hearing for January 19, 2016. Kuran faces a maximum possible sentence of 15 years in prison, three years of supervised release, a $500,000 fine, and a $200 special assessment.
In July 2010, the defendant’s mother, Feda Kuran, who was charged and convicted separately, began operating Brotherly Love Ambulance a co-schemer. From approximately July 2010 through approximately October 2011, Thael Kuran transported patients for Brotherly Love even though those patients could walk and could have been transported safely by means other than ambulance and were, therefore, not eligible for ambulance service under Medicare and Medicaid requirements. Thael Kuran also transported patients in his personal vehicle and in a minivan owned by Brotherly Love, both of which lacked the lifesaving equipment found in an ambulance. Even when he transported patients in his personal vehicle, Kuran completed ambulance “run sheets” for the trips and certified those sheets with his signature. In order to make the transports appear as though they had been done via ambulance, those run sheets misstated the medical condition of the patients and the care provided to the patients during the transports. After Brotherly Love ceased operations, Thael Kuran completed run sheets at a successor company, VIP Ambulance, that were false in that they were inconsistent with one another and contained no legitimate signature by an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT).
As a result of the overall scheme at Brotherly Love, the Medicare program was billed for more than $4.9 million and paid more than $2 million in inappropriate claims.
This 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 Mary E. Crawley and Paul W. Kaufman.