Calif. Man Sentenced to Prison for Health Care Fraud

September 6, 2005

An owner and operator of Greybor Medical Transportation, a Los Angeles-based ambulance company, was sentenced to 108 months in prison for federal health care fraud, money laundering and filing false tax returns.

Boris Shpirt, 51, of Beverly Hills, was also ordered to pay a $50,000 fine and more than $2.4 million in restitution to Medicare.

Shpirt was convicted by a federal jury in Los Angeles of conspiracy, 11 counts of health care fraud, six counts of money laundering, two counts of filing false tax returns and six counts of laundering money for the purpose of defrauding the Internal Revenue Service.

Shpirt’s wife, Jenny Shpirt, 44, was sentenced to 18 months in prison for two counts of filing false tax returns and ordered to pay a $15,000 fine. Both Shpirts were ordered to begin serving their sentence on October 21.

Greybor itself was sentenced to one year of probation and was held jointly and severally liable with Boris Shpirt for the restitution. Greybor was convicted of conspiracy and nine counts of health care fraud.

The evidence presented during a four-week trial reportedly showed that Greybor regularly submitted claims to Medicare that falsely stated a patient was “bed-confined,” when in fact the Medicare beneficiary was not. In some cases, the patient was transported while sitting in the front seat of the ambulance. These false statements to the government insurance program allowed Greybor to be reimbursed by Medicare when it was not entitled to receive payment. Medicare will pay for ambulance transportation only if no other option is available and only if the patient is bed-confined.

On many occasions, Greybor ambulances were used to transport four or five patients simultaneously, but Greybor reportedly later submitted claims to Medicare which indicated the Medicare beneficiaries were being transported individually.

Furthermore, Greybor falsely claimed that patients were being taken to dialysis treatment, which would be reimbursed by Medicare, when in fact they were being transported for other treatments that would not lead to reimbursement by Medicare.

A fourth defendant in the case, Daniel Gonzalez, a 30-year-old Pico Rivera man, who was a supervisor at Greybor and was found guilty of conspiracy and eight counts of health care fraud, is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 17.

Boris Shpirt’s partner and co-owner of Greybor, 50-year-old Gregory Plotkin of Beverly Hills, pleaded guilty and testified at trial against his co-defendants. Plotkin pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud and is still awaiting sentencing.

A sixth defendant in this case, Robert White, died prior to trial.

Boris Shpirt and Plotkin also ran two durable medical equipment companies – Pride Medical Industries and GABA Medical Industries – that provided medical equipment to Spanish-speaking individuals who did not want or need the equipment.

Employees of Pride and GABA would reportedly use counterfeit prescriptions to deliver inexpensive and unnecessary medical equipment to Medicare beneficiaries. The employees would convince the Spanish-speaking beneficiaries to sign English-language documents that turned out to be receipts for the unnecessary equipment, as well as more expensive equipment that was never delivered. Boris Shpirt submitted claims to Medicare for the unnecessary and non-existent medical equipment.

The Shpirts’ scheme to defraud the IRS led the couple to launder proceeds from Greybor through a company they set up. In addition to claiming that money from Greybor represented loan repayments instead of income, the Shpirts used income from their company to reportedly pay rent and to pay for the construction of their Beverly Hills home. In 1999 and 2000, the Shpirts underreported their income by more than $1.1 million.

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