March 10, 2015

Medicare Beneficiary Pleads Guilty to Receiving Kickbacks and Making False Statements in Health Care Matters

PHILADELPHIA—Craig Brown, 46, of Philadelphia, PA, pleaded guilty today to receiving kickbacks and making false statements in a health care matter, announced United States Attorney Zane David Memeger. The defendant faces a maximum possible sentence of 25 years in prison, three years of supervised release, a $1.25 million fine, a $500 special assessment, and an order of restitution. U.S. District Court Judge William H. Yohn, Jr. scheduled a sentencing hearing for June 10, 2015.

In July 2010, Feda Kuran, charged elsewhere, began operating Brotherly Love Ambulance, Inc. with a co-schemer. In approximately May 2011, Craig Brown began receiving transport to dialysis by Brotherly Love, even though he could have been transported safely by means other than ambulance and was, therefore, not eligible for ambulance service under Medicare and Medicaid requirements. Shortly thereafter, Brown began transporting himself in his personal vehicle once more, but he permitted Brotherly Love to bill for the transports as though he was being transported by ambulance. Brown accepted monthly payments to induce him to continue to ride with Brotherly Love and, later, to induce him to allow Brotherly Love to bill for his transport even though he was driving himself. Brown was also given payments for referring others to Brotherly Love and for transporting other purported patients of Brotherly Love in his personal vehicle even though Brotherly Love was billing for ambulance transports for those individuals. In addition, Brown signed ambulance “run sheets” indicating that he was being transported by ambulance when, in fact, he was transporting himself to and from dialysis.

As a result of his actions and those of Brotherly Love, the Medicare program paid more than $18,000 in inappropriate bills. 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 bills. Kuran was sentenced in November 2014 to 64 months in prison.

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 Paul W. Kaufman and Mary Crawley.