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California ambulance company accused of Medicare fraud

The Department of Justice has accused the owners and employees of Alpha Ambulance Inc. of participating in Medicare fraud. The ambulance service, which focused primarily on providing non-emergency transportation to patients who needed a ride to and from medical treatments, allegedly was paid $13 million by Medicare over a 4-year period. The charges against Alpha Ambulance came as a result of a nationwide effort by the federal Medicare Fraud Strike Force to reduce Medicare fraud.

Alpha Ambulance reportedly had already lost its Orange County license to operate because of concerns about its business practices. The ambulance company also lost their operation permit in Los Angeles County because of a lapse in their insurance and a failure to pay accrued late fees. An investigation by the federal government into Alpha Ambulance's operations over a 4-year period allegedly uncovered numerous irregularities, including providing ambulance services to patients unnecessarily and charging Medicare for services that were not rendered.

The two owners of Alpha Ambulance and one manager pleaded guilty in U.S. District court to conspiring to commit Medicare fraud. In addition to facing the possibility of serving as much as a decade behind bars, they could also be ordered to pay significant penalties as well. The former chief financial officer for Alpha Ambulance entered a plea of not guilty and will have a hearing in federal court.

Employees who have been accused of participating in criminal activities at their place of employment may benefit from consulting with an attorney. Lawyers working in the area of criminal law may be able to get the charges against their clients reduced or dismissed by uncovering evidence that successfully demonstrates that their clients are not responsible for the allegedly unlawful activities of their employer.

Source: Voice of OC, "Owners of Alpha Ambulance Firm Plead Guilty to Medicare Fraud", Rex Dalton, October 31, 2013

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