Phyllis Harrell and her son, Paul Trueblood, are accused of conspiring to defraud Medicare and Medicaid by filing false claims for non-emergency ambulance transportation services.
The indictment alleges that their ambulance company, Harrell Medical Transport, used wheelchair vans to transport Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries to routine medical appointments on a weekly basis, but then billed Medicare and Medicaid at higher rates by claiming that the transportation had been provided in ambulances.
The indictment alleges that mother and son created or caused to be created false medical records to make it appear as though the patients had traveled by ambulance. The indictment also alleges that they caused employees of Harrell Medical Transport to omit material information in medical records concerning the ability of patients to walk and ride in wheelchairs, which affects whether Medicare and Medicaid will pay for ambulance transportation.
This case demonstrates the large number of crimes that can be charged in a Medicare or Medicaid fraud case. The indictment charges 68 counts against the defendants, including:
- Conspiracy to Commit Health Care and Wire Fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1349);
- Health Care Fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1347);
- Wire Fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1343);
- False Statements Relating to Health Care Matters (18 U.S.C. § 1035);
- Conducting Transactions in Criminally Derived Property (18 U.S.C. § 1957); and
- Making Material False Statements (18 U.S.C. § 1001).
If convicted, the ambulance company owner and her son each face up to 20 years in prison for Conspiracy, 10 years in prison for Health Care Fraud, 20 years in prison for each count of Wire Fraud, 5 years in prison for each count of Making False Statements Relating to Health Care Matters, 10 years in prison for Conducting Transactions in Criminally Derived Property, and 5 years in prison for each count of Making Material False Statements. They also face up to a $250,000 fine on each count in the Indictment and mandatory restitution.
This is merely an indictment, and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. They may have explanations or defenses. The government may not be able to prove their case. They may negotiate a settlement or plea agreement to substantially reduced charges and penalties.
If you are under investigation or have been charged with Medicare or Medicaid fraud, or if you have been asked to falsify medical records or make false statements, then you should consult with an experienced Medicare and Medicaid fraud attorney immediately.
A competent defense lawyer will help you understand the charges and prepare your defense. Your lawyer may be able to reduce the charges by negotiating with the prosecutor. He may be able to convince a court to dismiss the charges. And if you are not the actual perpetrator of the fraud, you may even be eligible to avoid prosecution and earn a reward by helping the government stop the fraud.
Do not delay. To arrange a free and confidential consultation with an experienced trial lawyer, call my office today at (917) 652-6504 or click here to contact me via email.
John Howley, Esq.
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