Northeast Times

Criminal charges announced against Huntington Valley ambulance company

A Hunt­ing­don Val­ley-based am­bu­lance com­pany and two of its op­er­at­ors tried to steal more than $4.4 mil­lion from the Medi­care pro­gram through a fraud­u­lent claims scheme, ac­cord­ing to a fed­er­al in­dict­ment re­leased pub­licly last week.

The U.S. At­tor­ney’s of­fice an­nounced crim­in­al charges on Sept. 25 against Su­per­i­or EMS Am­bu­lance Com­pany as well as two of its prin­cipals, Beana Bell and Vadim Fleshler, both of Phil­adelphia. Fleshler and Bell are hus­band and wife and are ac­cused of con­spir­acy to com­mit health­care fraud as well as mak­ing false state­ments in con­nec­tion with health­care mat­ters.

The de­fend­ants al­legedly billed Medi­care for trans­port­ing pa­tients who were able to walk and could travel safely by means oth­er than am­bu­lance, and who were, there­fore, in­eligible for Medi­care cov­er­age. The de­fend­ants al­legedly re­cruited these able-bod­ied pa­tients by pay­ing them kick­backs and fals­i­fied re­ports to make it ap­pear that am­bu­lance trans­port was med­ic­ally ne­ces­sary.

The Medi­care pro­gram paid more than $2.4 mil­lion to Su­per­i­or in re­im­burse­ment claims, said the U.S. At­tor­ney’s of­fice, which iden­ti­fied Bell, 31, as the own­er and Fleshler, 32, as an “op­er­at­or” of the am­bu­lance com­pany. The fed­er­al pro­sec­utor did not dis­close the home ad­dresses of either in­di­vidu­al. Su­per­i­or has two busi­ness ad­dresses, 85 Tom­lin­son Road and 33 Tom­lin­son Road, both in Mont­gomery County.

The U.S. At­tor­ney’s of­fice has pro­sec­uted sev­er­al Phil­adelphia-area am­bu­lance com­pan­ies in re­cent months for sim­il­ar schemes. In April, of­fi­cials from Feasterville’s Me­dEx Am­bu­lance pleaded guilty to fraud charges, while a fed­er­al grand jury in­dicted Hunt­ing­don Val­ley-based Penn Choice Am­bu­lance and its op­er­at­ors for fraud.

In May, Churchville’s Wil­li­am Hlush­ma­nuk, who au­thor­it­ies de­scribed as the “straw own­er” of Bucks County’s Star­care Am­bu­lance, was sen­tenced to 92 months in pris­on for fraud. In an­oth­er case, Feda Kur­an, op­er­at­or of Broth­erly Love Am­bu­lance in the North­east, pleaded guilty to fraud charges. ••

You can reach at wkenny@bsmphilly.com.

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