Court Denies Attempt to Release Frozen Assets
The United States Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today the unsealing of a civil action against Advantage Medical Transport, Inc. and Serge Sivchuk.
According to United States Attorney Peter J. Smith, on November 15, 2011, Sivchuk filed a motion to release money from bank accounts, frozen when the case was filed, to pay his federal and state tax obligations. In response, the U.S. Attorney's Office filed a brief opposing the motion on grounds that Sivchuk would be using funds that were frozen because they were allegedly obtained fraudulently from the federal government (Medicare) to pay debts Sivchuk owed to the federal government. On January 12, 2012, United States District Court Judge Christopher C. Conner issued an order denying Sivchuk's motion to release funds to pay his taxes. Judge Conner stated in the order that "keeping the assets frozen would not, as Sivchuk claims, effectuate a 'nonsensical result' of requiring Sivchuk to violate the law by nonpayment of state and federal taxes, but would rather prevent Sivchuk from being relieved of his personal income tax liability to the federal government through the use of assets allegedly fraudulently obtained from the federal government."
Sivchuk and his company, Advantage Medical Transport, Inc, headquartered at 733 Fire House Lane, Harrisburg, were indicted last week on fourteen counts of Health Care Fraud, one count of Conspiracy, and fourteen counts of False Statements in Health Care Matters. Advantage's EMT and Dispatcher supervisor, David Paul, was also charged with Conspiracy and 14 Counts of False Statements in Health Care Matters.
The Indictment alleged that between January 2009 and June 2011 Advantage and Sivchuk devised and perpetrated a scheme to defraud Medicare out of at least $1,000,000 by submitting hundreds of claims for the non-emergency transport of Medicare beneficiaries to and from dialysis treatment centers. The Indictment alleged the claims were fraudulent because the patients were ambulatory and the ambulance transports were not medically necessary.
According to U.S. Attorney Smith, at the same time a search warrant was executed in the criminal case, the U.S. Attorney's Office filed a civil action in U.S. District Court in Harrisburg freezing more than $936,000 in Advantage- and Sivchuk- controlled bank accounts.
The Indictment also seeks the criminal forfeiture of Sivchuk's Farmcrest Lane, Harrisburg, PA, residence, Advantage's business premises at 733 Fire House Lane, Harrisburg, $860,972 in six Harrisburg area bank accounts controlled by Sivchuk, along with Sivchuk's 2006 Bentley and 2010 Land Rover automobiles.
Trial is scheduled for March 5, 2012 before Judge Conner. If convicted, each Health Care Fraud count is punishable by up to 20 years imprisonment and $1,000,000 fine. The Conspiracy count and each False Statement count are punishable by up to five years imprisonment and $1,000,000 fine.
The case was investigated by the Harrisburg Offices of the FBI and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services', Office of Inspector General. Criminal proceedings and forfeitures are being handled by Assistant United States Attorneys Kim Douglas Daniel and James T. Clancy. Civil proceedings are being handled by Assistant United States Attorney D. Brian Simpson.
An Indictment or Information is not evidence of guilt but simply a description of the charge made by the Grand Jury and/or United States Attorney against a defendant. A charged Defendant is presumed innocent until a jury returns a unanimous finding that the United States has proven the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt or until the defendant has pled guilty to the charges.
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