Los Angeles, California - The former owner, operator and managers of a Southern California ambulance company were sentenced to prison for their role in a fraud scheme that resulted in more than $1.5 million in fraudulent claims to Medicare.
Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker of the Central District of California, Special Agent in Charge Christian J. Schrank of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services-Office of the Inspector General’s (HHS-OIG) Los Angeles Region and Assistant Director in Charge David Bowdich of the FBI’s Los Angeles Division made the announcement.
U.S. District Judge S. James Otero of the Central District of California sentenced Yaroslav Proshak, aka Steven Proshak, 47, of Valley Village, California to serve 108 months in prison. On December 2, 2015, Judge Otero of the Central District of California sentenced Emilia Zverev, 58, of Van Nuys, California; and Sharetta Michelle Wallace, 37, of Inglewood, California, to serve 36 months and 24 months in prison, respectively. In addition to their prison terms, Judge Otero ordered Zverev and Wallace to pay restitution jointly and severally with Proshak in the amount of $804,755. On Aug. 18, 2015, following a 10-day trial, a federal jury in Los Angeles convicted Proshak, Zverev and Wallace of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and five counts of health care fraud.
Zverev and Wallace worked for ProMed Medical Transportation, an ambulance transportation company owned and operated by Proshak in the greater Los Angeles area that provided non-emergency services to Medicare beneficiaries, many of whom were dialysis patients. Zverev was the billing manager and Wallace supervised the ProMed EMTs. The evidence at trial showed that between May 2008 and October 2010, the defendants conspired to bill Medicare for ambulance transportation services for individuals that did not need such services. The defendants also instructed ProMed EMTs to conceal the patients’ true medical conditions by altering paperwork and creating fraudulent documents to justify the services. During the course of the conspiracy, ProMed submitted at least $1.5 million in false and fraudulent claims to Medicare for medically unnecessary transportation services; Medicare paid at least $804,755 on those claims.
The FBI and HHS-OIG investigated the case. The case was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, supervised by the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Central District of California. Trial Attorneys Blanca Quintero, Fred Medick and Ritesh Srivastava of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section prosecuted the case.
Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in nine cities across the country, has charged more than 2,300 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $7 billion. In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with HHS-OIG, is taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.
To learn more about the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), go to www.stopmedicarefraud.gov.