Former Tenn. ambulance service owners jailed for Medicare fraud
They were convicted of 39 counts after a $1.2M scam that went on for more than a decade
The Lebanon Democrat
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Woody Medlock Sr., 70, and his wife, Kathy Medlock, 58, of Murfreesboro, former owners of Murfreesboro Ambulance Service, were sentenced Thursday to federal prison for Medicare fraud and aggravated identity theft, according to David Rivera, U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee.
Woody Medlock received a 75-month prison sentence and Kathy Medlock was sentenced to 70 months in prison.
“Health care fraud continues to be a top priority of the U.S. Attorney’s Office,” said Rivera. “With the investigative resources of our law enforcement partners, we will continue to pursue those who steal from the taxpayers by defrauding the Medicare program and seek appropriate penalties against those involved.”
The sentence followed the Medlocks conviction by a jury May 31 on 39 counts, including conspiracy, Medicare fraud, making false statements related to health care matters and wire fraud. Both defendants also were convicted of two counts of aggravated identity theft for using the names and Medicare numbers of patients without lawful authority in submitting claims. Kathy Medlock was also convicted of an additional count of aggravated identity theft for use of a doctor’s name in forging and submitting multiple medical necessity forms as part of a Medicare audit.
According to evidence presented at trial, from about 1996 through September 2008, the Medlocks conspired and engaged in a scheme to defraud Medicare and Medicaid by submitting claims for payment for the transportation of patients to and from dialysis treatments that were not qualified to receive ambulance transportation. The Medlocks submitted or caused to be submitted, through Murfreesboro Ambulance Service, fraudulent claims totaling more than $1.2 million and received at least $457,730.12 in fraudulent payments from Medicare for reimbursement of the ambulance transports.
Testimony at trial further showed the fraudulent claims falsely represented that patients were on stretchers when the patients were actually transported in the front seat of the ambulance or in the captain’s chair/jump seat in the back of the ambulance and were not on stretchers. Other fraudulent claims reported that patients were transported individually, when in fact two patients had been transported simultaneously in one ambulance.
“For years, the Medlocks used their ambulances as taxpayer taxicabs,” said Derrick L. Jackson, special agent in charge at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General in Atlanta. “Today’s action sends a clear message: Medicare fraud can lead to federal prison.”
“Health care fraud harms the community at large, and threatens the strength and integrity of our health care system,” said A. Todd McCall, special agent in charge of the Memphis Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. “These sentences should send a strong, clear message to anyone seeking to defraud the health care system: You will get caught, and you will be brought to justice.”
“The TBI will continue to aggressively combat healthcare fraud,” said Director Mark Gwyn of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. “This is another case that exemplifies how collaborative efforts result in tough penalties for those who commit fraud against the healthcare system.”
This case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – Office of Inspector General, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
|McClatchy-Tribune News Service|