Ambulance Exec Guilty on 14 Counts

5/10/2010 4:22:00 AM, David Lee
DALLAS (CN) - A federal jury convicted the owner of two ambulance companies of 14 counts of fraudulently billing Medicare, Medicaid and private insurers for more than $3.5 million.

     The jury found Muhammed Nasiru Usman, 50, of Arlington, Texas, guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, 12 counts of health care fraud and one count of engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from unlawful activity.
     The conspiracy count carries a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Each of the health-care fraud counts carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
     Co-defendants Shaun Outen, 32, of Aubrey, Texas, and David McNac, 35, of Dallas, pleaded guilty to their role in the conspiracy before trial.
     Prosecutors say Usman's companies, Royal Ambulance Service, and First Choice EMS, primarily transferred patients on a nonemergency basis to and from dialysis treatments three times per week.
     The U.S. Attorney's Office said the defendants told Royal and First Choice employees to omit facts in documenting their work, such as whether patients walked to the ambulance, to qualify for reimbursement.
     Company records showed that many patients rode to appointments in a captain's chair in the ambulance, rather than on a stretcher. Payments of more than $1.2 million were made to the companies.
     Usman is to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Jorge Solis on July 28.
     McNac pleaded guilty on April 22, and is to be sentenced on July 21.
     Outen pleaded guilty on March 24; his sentencing is set for June 16.
     The conviction was a result of "Operation Easy Rider," in which search warrants were executed on ambulance companies across Texas.