Owner Of Long Island Ambulance Company Charged With Taking Taxpayers For $110,000 Ride

Attorney General Spitzer today announced that the owner of a Woodmere ambulance company has been charged with stealing more than $110,000 from State taxpayers by fraudulently billing for rides never provided to Medicaid patients, as well as inflating the cost of some services that were actually rendered.

Steven I. Finkelstein and his company, JDS Ambulance Corp., were arraigned today before Nassau County Court Judge Jeffrey S. Brown. They were each charged in an 11-count indictment with one count of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree and ten counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree. If convicted, Finkelstein faces up to 15 years in prison. In the case of a corporation, a felony is punishable by up to $10,000 or double the amount of the illegal gain.

"While billing the State for transporting Medicaid patients, the defendant took taxpayers for a ride," said Spitzer. "Our message is clear: we will not tolerate abuse of the Medicaid system, a program designed to help citizens in need. My office will continue to aggressively pursue and prosecute those individuals who steal from the taxpayers of this State."

Between June 1994 and December 2000, Finkelstein, as the owner and president of JDS Ambulance Corp., submitted numerous false reimbursement claims stating that his company had provided Medicaid recipients with ambulette transportation on certain dates when, in fact, no such service was rendered. For example, Finkelstein billed for transporting his own mother, who was actually hospitalized on the date claimed.

In addition, Finkelstein is accused of double billing for trips, and inflating the cost of group rides and the actual miles traveled in transporting recipients. As a result of these false billings, Finkelstein and his company received more than $110,000 in Medicaid funds to which they were not entitled.

Spitzer thanked the Nassau County Department of Social Services for its assistance and cooperation in the investigation.

Finkelstein, 43, lives at 379 Yale Avenue in Woodmere. He operates JDS Ambulance Corp. from his home.

Special Assistant Attorney General Michael L. Rice, Deputy Director of the Long Island Regional Office of the Attorney General's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, is prosecuting the case. All cases are handled under the direct supervision of Deputy Attorney General Jos? Maldonado.

The charges against Finkelstein and his company are accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.