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Dialysis sustains millions of Americans who might otherwise suffer kidney failure. However, not every instance of someone going in for dialysis treatment should require transport via an emergency vehicle such as an ambulance. PennLive.com tells the story of a Harrisburg ambulance service owner who billed Medicare hundreds of thousands of dollars in unnecessary trips via ambulance over two years.

The story states that the emergency transport company owner provided non-emergency transports for patients requiring dialysis treatments. (I guess that means no flashing red lights or sirens were required.) In reality, the patients were ambulatory and did not require a ride in an emergency vehicle. Further research revealed that the company owner would forge trip sheets and signatures before sending to Medicare for reimbursement. (He received $740,000 for his fraudulent claims.)

The ambulance company owner was eventually sentenced to two years in federal prison, ordered to pay more than $500,000 in penalties and a $250,000 fine levied against his company following his guilty plea for making false statements in health care matters. While the ambulance company owner was being charged and processed through the U.S. criminal justice system, the government froze his personal and corporate bank accounts, which held deposits of more than $936,000. (That should be enough to cover the cost of his illegal acts.)

The amount of Medicare fraud has reached epidemic proportions in recent years and the government has answered the emergency call to stop criminals from stealing funds they don’t deserve from those qualified beneficiaries who do. (It looks like this fraudster has an emergency item on his agenda that requires immediate attention – repay the government and taxpayers as soon as possible.)

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Harrisburg ambulance firm owner gets federal prison for Medicare fraud,” written by Matt Miller and published by PennLive.com on Nov. 13, 2015.

Nine months after pleading guilty in a massive Medicare fraud case, the owner of a Harrisburg ambulance service has been sent to federal prison and hit with hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and restitution.

U.S. Middle District Chief Judge Christopher C. Conner sentenced Serge Sivchuk, 30, to 2 years in prison and ordered him to pay nearly $500,000 in penalties. Conner levied a $250,000 fine on Sivchuk’s firm, Advantage Medical Transport.

U.S. Attorney Peter Smith said Friday that Sivchuk and the firm were charged with submitting bogus billings to Medicare for unnecessary transports of dialysis patients between 2009 and 2011. A grand jury indicted Sivchuk in 2012 and he pleaded guilty this past February to a charge of making false statements in health care matters.

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Larry Benson, Senior Director of Strategic Alliances, LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

Larry Benson is responsible for developing strategic partnerships and solutions for the government vertical. His expertise focuses on how government programs are defrauded by criminal groups, and the approaches necessary to prevent them from succeeding.

Mr. Benson has 30 years of experience in sales and business development. Before joining LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, he spent 12 years founding and managing two software technology startups. During the 1990s he spent 10 years as a Regional Director helping to grow a New England-based technology company from 300 employees to 7,000. He started his career with Martin Marietta Aerospace working on laser guided weapons and day/night vision systems.

A sought-after speaker and accomplished writer, Mr. Benson is the principal author of “Fraud of the Day,” a website dedicated to educating government officials about how criminals are defrauding government programs. He has co-authored WTF? Where’s the Fraud? How to Unmask and Stop Identity Fraud’s Drain on Our Government, and Data Personified, How Fraud is Changing the Meaning of Identity.

Benson holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Albright College, and earned two graduate degrees – a Master of Business Administration from Florida Institute of Technology, and a Master of Science in Engineering from Lehigh University.