Federal agents arrested Sergey Zagorodny, 34, this morning and seized the ambulances. Brother Alexandr, Memeger said, is expected to surrender to law enforcement officials later today. If convicted, the brothers each face prison sentences and fines of up to $10.25 million, a spokeswoman for Memeger said.
The indictment follows several others as the the Inspector General's Office for the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services clamps down fraud, waste and abuse of federal health care money.
"It's a concerted effort," said HHS Special Agent in Charge Nick DiGiulio. "We're working with the U.S. Attorney's office and the FBI to address an increasing amount of fraud allegations about Philadelphia-area ambulance companies."
DiGiulio said the investigations come in the wake of an uptick in fraud complaints.
"We're addressing them one at a time," he said.
The effort has met with considerable success.
Last month, a Bucks county man was indicted in a scheme that bilked Medicare of more than $5.4 million. William V. Hlushmanuk, 35, who owned the Starcare Ambulance Co., was charged in a 23 count health care fraud indictment on counts similar to those filed against the Zagorodny brothers.
In May, Ivan Tkach, 30, of Newtown, was sentenced for his role in a $1.2 million scheme to defraud Medicare by Advantage Ambulance Co. of Philadelphia. Tkach's boss, Ilya Sivchuk, awaits sentencing.
Sivchuk's brother, Serge Sivchuk, 26, was indicted in January on 14 counts of fraud for billing offenses by Advantage Ambulance Harrisburg operation.
In Feb. 2011, Boris Rostovsky, 44, pleaded guilty to bilking Medicare out of $1.3 million with his own ambulance company, Grey Eagle, Inc.
Many of the investigations were triggered by tips made to HHS's hotline, said DiGiulio. To report suspected fraud, call 800-HHS-TIPS or see the department's website at http://www.stopmedicarefraud.gov/
Contact staff writer Sam Wood at 215-854-2796 or email@example.com.
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