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Post date: September 9 2015

Westchester Transportation Company Owner Sentenced To Jail For Stealing Over $200k From Medicaid

Kurien Palliankal to Serve 6 Months in Jail, 5 Years Probation for Defrauding Medicaid; Carewell Ambulette to Pay $10k Fine, Stolen Funds Repaid to Medicaid

Schneiderman: Those Who Defraud Medicaid Will Be Held Accountable

PEARL RIVER – Kurien Palliankal, 48, of Yonkers, owner of Carewell Ambulette, Inc., was sentenced in Westchester County Court today to six months in jail for stealing from Medicaid, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced. He also was sentenced to five years probation after he serves his jail sentence. The corporation, formerly based in New Rochelle, was also sentenced to pay a fine of $10,000.
 
“New Yorkers rely on companies and individuals to provide honest and reliable necessary medical services to those who need them,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “This sentence sends the message that those who betray this trust by defrauding Medicaid will be held accountable.”
 
Both Palliankal and Carewell Ambulette, which provided transportation services to Medicaid recipients throughout Westchester and neighboring counties, pled guilty in March to stealing from the Medicaid program by billing Medicaid for more expensive transportation than was medically necessary. Palliankal admitted at the time of his plea that between July 2006 and March 2010, he submitted false claims to Medicaid indicating that ambulette transportation was necessary for many Medicaid recipients transported by Carewell. In fact, the health care providers only authorized taxi transportation but their requests were altered by Carewell.
 
In submitting claims based upon these falsified transportation requests, Carewell was able to submit claims for the ambulette service rate which was four times higher than taxi service. In doing so Palliankal, through his company, defrauded Medicaid of more than $200,000.
 
Palliankal and Carewell Ambulette were sentenced before the Honorable Barry Warhit in Westchester County Court. Palliankal and Carewell made full restitution to Medicaid prior to sentence.
 
The Attorney General would like to thank the Westchester County Department of Social Services for its assistance in conducting the investigation.  

The investigation was led by Senior Investigator Frank Bluszcz, Supervising Auditor Investigator Lora Pomponio and Associate Auditor Investigator Melissa Stoebling with the assistance of Supervising Investigator Peter Markiewicz, Deputy Chief Investigator Kenneth Morgan and Regional Chief Auditor John Regan. The case was prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General William McClarnon of the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit’s Pearl River Regional Office with the assistance of Regional Director Anne Jardine. Thomas O’Hanlon is the Chief of Criminal Investigations – Downstate. The MFCU is led by Acting Director Amy Held and Assistant Deputy Attorney General Paul J. Mahoney. The Division of Criminal Justice is led by Executive Deputy Attorney General Kelly Donovan.