New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer and Acting State Insurance Superintendent Howard Mills announced guilty pleas by two owners of an ambulette company for submitting fraudulent transportation bills to insurance carriers.
The schemes reportedly involved false billings stemming from no-fault insurance claims made by motor vehicle accident victims. Among the charges the defendants pled guilty to were scheme to defraud, insurance fraud, forgery, criminal possession of forged instruments, larceny and attempted larceny. As part of their guilty pleas, both individuals – Staten Island residents Alla Bronshteyn, 58, and her husband, Vitaly Tsimerman, 61, are expected to be sentenced to a year in jail.
The defendants reportedly committed their crimes by billing insurance companies for round-trip ambulette transports of patients when none were provided, or by over-billing insurance companies for more expensive round-trip ambulette transports when transports were provided by private cars.
An ambulette is a specially equipped, wheelchair-accessible vehicle used to transport patients who need assistance in traveling from their homes to medical facilities. In some cases, the defendants submitted to insurance carriers vouchers, or “trip tickets,” containing forged patient signatures to support their fraudulent billings.
Under New York’s no-fault law, a person injured in a motor vehicle accident can receive up to $50,000 coverage for medical expenses incurred as a result of the accident. No-fault will also cover transportation costs to and from medical facilities and will reimburse at a higher rate for ambulette service when it is deemed medically necessary. Most health service providers, including ambulette companies, are reimbursed directly by the carriers for services provided.
Bronshteyn and Tsimerman and the company they operated, Ex-L Ambulette Service Inc., all pled guilty to the entire 134-count indictment before Kings County Supreme Court Justice John Walsh. When Bronshteyn and Tsimerman are sentenced by Justice Walsh on May 17, the Court is expected to impose one-year jail terms for each of them, fines totaling $350,000, and an order requiring the dissolution of Ex-L Ambulette Service Inc.
These pleas mark the final chapter in an investigation of ambulette companies started in 2002 by the Attorney General’s Auto Insurance Fraud Unit. The investigation resulted in indictments against several ambulette companies and their principal owners in November of 2003. All three indictments resulted in jail terms for the principals of the ambulette companies, as well as monetary sanctions.
Previously sentenced were Mark Pogoriler and his two corporations, Shark Transportation M.S. Inc. and LEM-M Ambulette Service Inc., after they pleaded guilty earlier last year before Kings County Supreme Court Justice Abraham Gerges to multiple felony counts stemming from a 47-count indictment.
Previously sentenced by Justice Walsh were Ivan Lopadtchak and two of his companies, Almaz Ambulette Service Inc. and Ex-L Ambulette Service I.M. Inc., after they pleaded guilty to a multi-count indictment last year.
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