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Ambulance driver pleads guilty to health care fraud

When an individual is accused of a federal crime, a series of events is set into motion. The defense team works to comb through all of the evidence held by the prosecution, and predictions are made involving the likely outcome of a trial. When the evidence firmly supports a conviction, the individual must choose whether to pursue the matter in court or work toward a plea deal. That can be a difficult choice to make, but it can be one that can make a world of difference in the eventual outcome for the accused. An example is found in a recent plea agreement accepted by a Pennsylvania ambulance driver accused of fraud.

The case centered on claims that multiple ambulance companies in the Philadelphia area have been involved in acts of health care fraud. An investigation followed, leading federal authorities to charge multiple people with various crimes. One of those people was an ambulance driver who is believed to have transported patients to medical facilities in vehicles that were not properly equipped to provide medical transport. The company that the man worked for then billed Medicare for ambulance transportation.

It is alleged that many of those patients were able to walk on their own and could have obtained a different form of transport. In those cases, the ambulance driver was accused of creating false documents that misstated the condition of certain patients. In total, the scheme is believed to have brought in more than $2 million in fraudulent charges to Medicare.

It is impossible to know which factors contributed to the Pennsylvania ambulance driver's decision to accept a plea agreement in the health care fraud case. He may have felt that there were too many uncertainties involved in taking the matter to trial. He may have simply wanted to avoid the cost, time and stress associated with a lengthy trial. No matter what the reason behind the decision, readers can be assured that the choice was not made lightly.  

Source: bizjournals.com, "Ambulance driver enters guilty plea in fraud probe", John George, Oct. 22, 2015

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