FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
July 20, 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. At the beginning of the second day of testimony in his court trial today, Ronald High, 42, of Horseman Court in Baltimore, pleaded guilty before Baltimore County Circuit Court Judge Kathleen G. Cox, who set sentencing for October 21.
High is the former owner of Care Plus Ambulance Service, Inc., Care Plus Care Ambulance Services, Inc. and Consistent Care Ambulance Services, Inc., formally located in the 8200 block of Liberty Road, Baltimore County. According to testimony presented at trial, High 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, 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 High's companies were able to walk and most often were not transported on a stretcher, as High represented to Medicare and Medicaid. In fact, prosecutors introduced a videotape actually showing a client, on one particular occasion, walking in and out of the ambulance. Also, there was evidence that on several occasions, High even transported patients in his Mercedes Benz, billing Medicare and Medicaid as if the patient had been transported by ambulance.
Last week, High's former business partner, Gary Jefferson, pleaded guilty to Medicaid Fraud and Medicare Theft in connection with the same case. Jefferson was sentenced to 18 months in jail and ordered to make restitution in the amount of $555,134.94.
"These individuals are supposed to be running an ambulance company, not a taxi service," said Attorney General Curran. "Considering the fact that these services were totally unnecessary, they merely fleeced both the State and Federal Government to the tune of more than $440,000."
Medicaid Fraud is punishable by up to five years in jail and a $10,000 fine. Felony theft is punishable by up to 15 years and a $1,000 fine.
The guilty plea was the result of a joint investigation headed by the Maryland Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the Office of the Attorney General and the Office of Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services.