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Ambulance company owner pleads guilty to fraud - abc27 WHTM

Ambulance company owner pleads guilty to fraud

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) -

The owner of a Harrisburg-based ambulance company has pleaded guilty to submitting a false statement to Medicare.

Serge Sivchuk, 27, owner of Advantage Medical Transport Inc., pleaded guilty Friday before U.S. District Judge Christopher Conner to one count of false statements in health care matters, according to U.S. Attorney Peter Smith.

The charge is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine.

Sivchuk was indicted in January 2011 on multiple counts of false statements and medicare fraud. He was accused in a scheme to defraud Medicare by submitting hundreds of claims for the non-emergency transport of Medicare beneficiaries to and from dialysis treatment centers between January 2009 and June 2011.

The indictment alleged the claims were fraudulent because the ambulance transports were not medically necessary.

According to Smith, Sivchuk provided Medicare auditors with dozens of ambulance trip sheets that were not originals, but copies of other trip sheets that had been rewritten and forged to conceal the fact the beneficiaries were able to walk and stand.

During his court appearance Friday, Sivchuk admitted he directed an employee to rewrite and forge the signatures of EMTs on one trip sheet, which describes the patient's physical condition and serves as the primary support document for Medicare claims.

Smith said that Medicare paid Advantage approximately $166 for each leg of a transport to and from a dialysis treatment center, plus $5.49 per mile. Since many dialysis patients underwent three treatments per week, he said one week's transport of just one dialysis patient would result in Advantage being paid by Medicare more than $1,000.

Under the terms of Sivchuk's plea agreement, Judge Conner will determine the overall loss to Medicare.

Smith said federal prosecutors intend to show at a loss hearing that the fraud scheme resulted in a total loss to Medicare of approximately $740,000.

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