NASHVILLE -- A couple accused of defrauding the federal government through the fake Medicare bills has been convicted various charges in connection with the case.
Woody Medlock, Sr., 69, and his wife, Kathy Medlock, 57, of Murfreesboro, who are the former owners of Murfreesboro Ambulance Service, have been convicted by a jury on charges of conspiracy, Medicare fraud, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft, announced David Rivera, acting U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee.
A third defendant, Woody “Bubba” Medlock Jr., was acquitted of similar charges.
According to the evidence presented at trial and the indictment, from 1996 through September 2008, the Medlocks conspired and engaged in a scheme to defraud Medicare and Medicaid by submitting claims for payment for the transportation of patients who were not qualified to receive ambulance transportation.
Evidence at trial showed that the Medlocks submitted or caused to be submitted, through Murfreesboro Ambulance Service, fraudulent claims totaling more than $1.6 million to Medicare and Medicaid for reimbursement of ambulance transports of patients to and from dialysis treatments.
Testimony at trial further showed that these fraudulent claims falsely represented that patients were on stretchers when the patients were actually transported in the front seat of the ambulance or in a seat in the back of the ambulance and were not on stretchers.
Fraudulent claims also stated that patients were transported individually when in fact, two patients had been transported simultaneously in one ambulance.
Both defendants were convicted of two counts of aggravated identity theft for using the names and Medicare numbers of patients without lawful authority in submitting claims.
Kathy Medlock was also convicted of an additional count of aggravated identity theft for use of a doctor’s name in forging and submitting multiple medical necessity forms as part of a Medicare audit.
“This case represents another example that this office will hold individuals accountable when they steal from health care programs intended to help the elderly and the most needy citizens,” Rivera said. “This office, along with our law enforcement partners at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, will relentlessly pursue those who choose to defraud the Medicare and Medicaid programs.”
“The Medlocks were running a taxpayer-funded taxi service disguised as an ambulance company,” said Derrick L. Jackson, the special agent in charge at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for the Office of Inspector General. “The flow of Medicare money has been shut off to this husband and wife team.”
"Today's verdict validates the FBI's commitment to investigate those who take advantage of our health care system and defraud the American public," said A. Todd McCall, the special agent in charge of the FBI's Memphis division.
"We will continue to work tirelessly with our law enforcement partners and the U.S. Attorney's Office to investigate and prosecute those who commit health care fraud."
The Medlocks face up to 20 years in prison, plus an additional mandatory two years, for aggravated identity theft and a $250,000 fine.
Any sentence following conviction will be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. sentencing guidelines and applicable federal statutes.