Ambulance Company Owner Sentenced In Medicare Fraud
PHILADELPHIA – Zahar “Alex” Tkach of Bensalem, PA, was sentenced today by U.S. District Court Judge Harvey Bartle III to 60 months’ incarceration, 3 years’ supervised release and $1,250,930 in restitution in connection with a scheme to defraud Medicare by charging for unnecessary ambulance services, obstructing two federal audits and laundering criminal proceeds. The scheme ran from approximately June 2008 through April 2012.
As described in the 19-count indictment, Zahar Tkach owned two ambulance companies, NovaCare Ambulance Services, Inc. (also called “Novocare Ambulance”) and Cardiac Care Ambulance, Inc. (“Cardiac Care”), operating primarily in Philadelphia and the surrounding counties. The two ambulance companies shared resources, including employees and patients. Tkach managed both companies’ operations, finances and billings. Tkach transported dialysis patients who needed treatments three times per week, thereby allowing him to bill Medicare extensively for those patients, when the ambulance services were not medically necessary for those patients. He also billed Medicare for paratransit services by falsely claiming that the patients were transported by ambulance. When Medicare audited the 2011 billings of Novocare and Cardiac Care, the defendant obstructed the audits by altering, and directed employees to alter, ambulance transport records and he falsified medical authorization forms, all of which he submitted to the Medicare auditors to support the fraudulent billings.
This case was investigated by the FBI and the Department of Health and Human Services-Office of the Inspector General and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrea Foulkes.