Attorney General Cuomo Recovers More Than $450,000 In Refunds And Penalties From Online Magazine Vendor

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (September 30, 2008) – Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the sentencing of a Wayne County medical transportation company and its owner for defrauding Medicaid out of nearly $1 million by filing false claims and reports and using unqualified drivers.

Murtada S. Ebrahim, 45, of Sedgefield Court in Irondequoit, owner of M&M Medical Transport, Inc., located on State Road 104 in Williamson, was sentenced by Wayne County Court Judge Dennis Kehoe to 2-to-6 years in prison for the charge of grand larceny in the third degree and 1 and 1/3-to-4 years in prison for offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree. The sentences are to run concurrently. Ebrahim and M&M must repay $971,267 to the state for defrauding Medicaid, and the corporation must pay an additional $10,000 fine. Ebrahim pleaded guilty July 8, 2008.

From January 1, 2003 to December 6, 2007, Ebrahim and M&M offered ambulette services to Medicaid recipients from Monroe and Wayne counties. The company defrauded Medicaid by filing claims for reimbursement for services provided by unqualified drivers. Ebrahim also filed a false report with the Department of Motor Vehicles, which covered up an accident involving one of M&M’s ambulette drivers who abandoned an elderly, wheelchair-bound patient at the scene.

“This company not only placed the elderly and most vulnerable in the hands of unqualified individuals, but they also siphoned nearly one million dollars from the state,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “My office will continue to recover taxpayer dollars stolen by dishonest health care companies and ensure these companies cause no additional harm to their patients.”

The Attorney General’s investigation revealed that Ebrahim submitted false reimbursement claims to Medicaid stating that his company complied with Medicaid and Motor Vehicle regulations when in fact, M&M’s drivers failed to meet minimum qualifications to provide services. Due to the false claims filed by M&M, Medicaid paid the company $971,267 to which it was not entitled.

According to court documents, on July 25, 2006, one of M&M’s ambulette drivers was involved in an accident while transporting an elderly wheelchair-bound patient, and ran from the scene. Ebrahim admitted he was aware of the accident but still filed an annual affidavit of compliance with the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles stating that none of M&M’s drivers had been involved in any accidents during 2006.

The Attorney General’s Office expressed its thanks to the Wayne County Department of Social Services and the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles for their cooperation in the matter. This case is being prosecuted by Jerry Solomon, Rochester Regional Director of the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, assisted by Senior Special Investigator William Falk, Principal Auditor Thomas Clarke and Senior Auditor/Investigator Jodi Dineen.

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