Ambulance Company Owner's "Free Ride" Ends in Jail


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
July 14, 1999

Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today that a former ambulance transportation owner has pleaded guilty to Felony Medicaid Fraud and Felony Medicare Theft for his role in a scheme to steal more than $440,000. Today, Gary Jefferson, 37, of the 7200 block of Chippenham Place in Baltimore, pleaded guilty before Baltimore County Circuit Court Judge Kathleen G. Cox, who sentenced Jefferson to serve 18 months in jail on each count. Jefferson is the former owner of Care Plus Ambulance Service, Inc. and Care Plus Care Ambulance Services, Inc., formerly located in the 8200 block of Liberty Road, Baltimore, County, from 1991 through early 1998.

According to the Statement of Facts filed by the State, Jefferson routinely submitted claims to Medicare and Medicaid for reimbursement for ambulance transportation services, claiming that the patients transported were either non-ambulatory or on stretchers, when in fact they were not. By law, the Medicare and Medicaid programs pay only for ambulance transportation services when the patient is non-ambulatory or must be transported on a stretcher. The patients transported by Care Plus ambulance were able to walk and most often were not transported on a stretcher, as Jefferson had represented to Medicare and Medicaid. In fact, on several occasions, Jefferson even transported patients in his Mercedes Benz, billing Medicare and Medicaid as if the patient had been transported by ambulance.

"An ambulance company isn't a taxi service," said Attorney General Curran. "By charging for these trips, Mr. Jefferson took the government for an expensive ride that he'll now have to fund out of his own pocket."

Judge Cox sentenced Jefferson to 10 years imprisonment for Medicare theft and 5 years imprisonment for Medicaid fraud. Judge Cox ordered that the terms run concurrent and suspended all but 18 months of each sentence. She also recommended that the Defendant receive home detention. Jefferson was ordered to pay restitution of $166,179.27 to the Medical Assistance Program, representing three times the amount of money stolen from the program, and $388,955.67 to Medicare.

Jefferson's business partner, Ronald High is scheduled to go on trial Monday in Baltimore County. The guilty plea was a result of a joint investigation headed by The Maryland Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the Attorney Generals Office and the Office of Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services.


For Further Information Contact:
Frank Mann
Special Assistant to the Attorney General
(410) 576-6357