Ambulette scam: Eight accused of bilking Medicaid for millions

June 12, 2024 Robert Abruzzese, Courthouse Editor
U.S. Attorney Breon Peace announces the indictment of eight individuals accused of operating a fraudulent ambulette service scheme that defrauded Medicaid of more than $16 million. The charges include conspiracy to commit health care fraud, health care fraud and money laundering. Photo: Peter K. Afriyie/AP
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Federal authorities unsealed an indictment on Wednesday at the Eastern District of New York federal courthouse, charging eight individuals with an array of crimes linked to a fraudulent ambulette service scheme. 

The defendants allegedly submitted fake claims to Medicaid, including for services not performed and for individuals who were deceased.

Among those charged are Noman Ahmed, Adnan Arshad, Rehman Diwan, Jessica Hendrickson, Jose Marte, Mohammed Saleem, Faisal Shamsi and Waqas Shamsi. They face counts of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, health care fraud, conspiracy to defraud the United States, paying health care kickbacks and money laundering.

The defendants, ages 24 to 49, are from various locations in New York, including Port Jefferson Station, Mount Sinai, Hicksville, Patchogue, the Bronx, Dix Hills and Massapequa.

“As alleged, the defendants abused the trust placed in them by Medicaid by falsely and brazenly treating this essential program like a piggy bank for their own enrichment,” U.S. Attorney Breon Peace said. “Their transportation scam ended today with law enforcement providing the defendants a free ride to the courthouse to face serious criminal charges. My office will prosecute health care providers who steal from taxpayer-funded programs intended to help those in need.”

The indictment reveals that the defendants — associated with multiple transportation companies — allegedly paid illegal kickbacks to Medicaid beneficiaries to secure orders for ambulette services, which were either not provided or billed at inflated rates. More than $16 million in fraudulent claims were made, including for non-existent services to deceased individuals and inflated claims for long-distance trips to New York City addiction centers.

The defendants paid illegal kickbacks to Medicaid beneficiaries from December 2020 to the present to secure orders for medical transportation services, often to addiction treatment centers, according to the criminal complaint. Despite not providing these services, they allegedly fraudulently billed Medicaid millions. 

Claims included those for deceased individuals and others who were hospitalized or incarcerated. They also submitted inflated claims by directing beneficiaries to use treatment centers in New York City, listing false addresses to get higher reimbursement rates. The fraudulent scheme netted more than $16 million, which was used to purchase additional transport vehicles, multimillion-dollar homes, and luxury vehicles.

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