Owner of Essex County-Based Medical Transportation Company Pleads Guilty to Health Care Fraud
ALBANY, NEW YORK – Qaiser Gondal, age 47, of Watervliet, New York, pled guilty today to conspiring to defraud Medicaid.
The announcement was made by:
- United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith;
- New York State Police Superintendent Keith M. Corlett;
- James N. Hendricks, Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI);
- New York State Inspector General Letizia Tagliafierro; and
- Rensselaer County District Attorney Mary Pat Donnelly.
Today’s plea is the result of a state and federal investigation into Medicaid fraud committed by the owners and operators of medical transportation companies based in Essex County.
Qaiser Gondal operated Ti Taxi Inc. (“Ti Taxi”), a Medicaid-funded transportation company based in Ticonderoga, New York.
As part of his plea, Qaiser Gondal admitted that he committed a variety of frauds against Medicaid and the New York State Department of Health, including: billing Medicaid and receiving payment for trips where beneficiaries drove themselves to their own medical appointments, and falsifying the identities of the drivers for those trips; billing Medicaid and receiving payment for roundtrips to and from medical appointments when the beneficiaries took only one-way trips with Ti Taxi; and falsifying pick-up and drop-off locations, in order to increase the purported distances traveled and therefore be able to claim and receive higher Medicaid payments.
Qaiser Gondal also admitted that he paid kickbacks and bribes to Medicaid beneficiaries in order to induce those beneficiaries to schedule and keep scheduling medical transportation appointments with Ti Taxi. Kickbacks included cash, phone cards, cigarettes and tobacco, and free goods at Gondal’s convenience store in Ticonderoga.
Qaiser Gondal faces up to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and a term of post-imprisonment supervised release of up to 3 years, when he is sentenced on November 14, 2019 by Senior United States District Judge Thomas J. McAvoy. A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other factors.
Qaiser Gondal has also agreed to pay $325,000 in restitution.
Yesterday, Khurram Gondal, age 38, of Ticonderoga, pled guilty to health care fraud in connection with fraudulent Medicaid billing practices connected to two other medical transportation companies, Green Mountain Medical Transportation Inc. and Four Way Taxi, Inc. Khurram Gondal, who is Qaiser Gondal’s brother, also faces up to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced on November 14, 2019 by Judge McAvoy. Khurram Gondal has agreed to pay $60,000 in restitution.
Charges remain pending against several other defendants. Those defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The federal charges are being investigated by the FBI and the New York State Police’s Special Investigations Unit, and are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Barnett.
Parallel state charges are being investigated by the New York State Police’s Special Investigations Unit, as well as the Office of the New York State Inspector General, and are being prosecuted by Rensselaer County Chief Assistant District Attorney Matthew Hauf as Special Prosecutor.
Several additional agencies assisted in this investigation, including the Essex County District Attorney’s Office; New York State Police-Troop B; the Office of the New York State Comptroller, Division of Investigations; New York State Attorney General’s Office, Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU); Essex County Sheriff’s Office; Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); the Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS-OIG); and the New York State Department of Labor.