Owner Of Yonkers Ambulance Company Pleads Guilty To $1 Million Medicaid Fraud

Attorney General Spitzer today announced that the owner of a Yonkers ambulance company has admitted to stealing $1 million from the Medicaid program by fraudulently billing for thousands of rides that never took place.

Appearing today before Westchester County Court Judge Alphonse M. Naclerio, Ann Russo, the owner and operator of Circle Ambulette Corp., of Yonkers, pleaded guilty to Grand Larceny in the Second Degree and agreed to make $1 million in restitution.

Sentencing was set for September 29, 2000.

"While billing the State for transporting Medicaid patients, the defendant took taxpayers for a $1 million ride," said Spitzer.

"Our message is clear: we will not tolerate abuse of Medicaid, a program designed to help citizens in need - not to support the lifestyle of scam artists. My Office will continue to aggressively pursue and prosecute those individuals who steal from the taxpayers of this State."

Between June 1995 and December 1997, Russo improperly billed taxpayers for transporting recipients who were actually hospitalized on the dates claimed, or who were dialysis patients receiving treatment at home. Russo also inflated the number of trips and times when other recipients were transported for dialysis.

Russo, 61, lives at 10 Landis Place in Yonkers. She operated Circle Ambulette Corp., from both her home and from 520 Fifth Avenue in Mount Vernon.

The case was prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Alan Bly, of the Pearl River Regional Office of Spitzer's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. All cases are handled under the direct supervision of Deputy Attorney General Jos? Maldonado.

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