Pennsylvania Ambulance Passengers Charged with Fraud

After indicting nine Philadelphia-area ambulance company owners and their employees for Medicare fraud since 2011, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Philadelphia on Thursday, for the first time, charged passengers with fraud for accepting kickbacks.

The 30-page indictment alleges that four Medicare beneficiaries received payments of up to $500 a month for riding in ambulances operated by Brotherly Love Ambulance Inc. of Philadelphia.

The usual model of ambulance fraud in Philadelphia involves transporting dialysis patients, who actually can travel safely by less-expensive means.

One of the beneficiaries charged Thursday, Craig Brown, also allegedly signed a form saying Brotherly Love had transported him to a dialysis center even though he had driven himself in his Cadillac CTS, the indictment said.

In addition, Brown received $1,000 as a finder’s fee for referring another patient to Brotherly Love, the indictment says.

Brown’s attorney, Kathryn Coviello Cacciamani of Philadelphia, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The three other beneficiaries charged in the indictment were Derrick Brown, William Conner, and Keisha Regusters.

At least two of the beneficiaries sent texts to Brotherly Love employees soliciting increases in the amount Brotherly Love was paying them.

The indictment also charges two Brotherly Love employees, Thael Kuran and Fritzroy Brown, with health-care fraud. The fraud occurred from at least October 2010 to October 2011, the indictment says.

Kuran’s mother, Feda, owned the company. She pleaded guilty in April 2013 to health-care fraud and violating antikickback laws. She was sentenced Wednesday to 64 months in prison, more than five years, and ordered to pay $2 million in restitution to Medicare.

Separately Thursday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said the owners and a manager of Life Support Corp., a Bucks County ambulance firm, pleaded guilty to violations of antikickback laws and a $1.9 million conspiracy to commit health-care fraud. Sentencing hearings are scheduled for Feb. 11.

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