Solon couple indicted for $750,000 health care fraud
A Solon couple was indicted on nine counts of health care fraud for defrauding Medicaid out of approximately $750,000 by providing ambulette rides to patients who did not use or need wheelchairs, said Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.
Antwain Hamilton and Temeca Hamilton, both 37, were arrested this morning. They were indicted, along with the company they owned, Star Medical Transportation, located at 16004 Broadway Ave., Maple Heights, Ohio. Temeca Hamilton faces an additional count of witness tampering.
“These defendants are charged with stealing from a program designed to help those who cannot get themselves to doctors’ appointments,” Dettelbach said. “We will continue to prosecute those who abuse government programs for their own personal gain.”
"These individuals billed Medicaid for hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of services that they never provided and got paid for it in taxpayer dollars,” said Attorney General DeWine. “This type of fraud does not go unnoticed, and we will get that funding back so that it can go towards people who need healthcare services in Ohio.”
Ambulette services contract with the Ohio Medicaid programs to transport patients in vehicles known as ambulettes. An ambulette is a specially equipped van designed for wheelchair passengers. Medicaid pays ambulette operators for driving Medicaid patients to and from Medicaid-covered appointments, so long as the patient rides in a wheelchair, a medical doctor certifies the need for the wheelchair and ambulette and the ambulette itself otherwise meets safety specifications.
The defendants are charged with defrauding Medicaid out of approximately $750,000 between 2010 and 2013 by charging Medicaid for rides of patients who did not use or need wheelchairs, billing Medicaid for ambulette attendants when no such attendants were used and billing Medicaid for transports that never occurred.
The last count of the indictment alleges Temeca Hamilton tampered with a witness, a Medicaid recipient, by asking the witness to tell law enforcement that she had been receiving transportation services from Star Transport for the last five years, which is false.
This indictment is the result of an investigation by the Ohio Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and the Office of the Inspector General, United States Department of Health and Human Services. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael L. Collyer and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Constance Nearhood, an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Ohio.
If convicted, the defendants’ sentences will be determined by the court after a review of the federal sentencing guidelines and factors unique to the case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record (if any), the defendant’s role in the offense and the characteristics of the violation.
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.