Ambulance company owner pleads guilty to fraud

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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