Man admits bilking Medicare out of $66,000

Bassem Kuran started a private ambulance company in the Northeast in 2011 after federal authorities locked up his mom for using her own local ambulance company to bilk millions of dollars from Medicare.

It turns out that Kuran was merely sustaining the family business. Kuran, 23, pleaded guilty on June 28 to collecting more than $66,000 in reimbursements from Medicare for services that Kuran’s company, VIP Ambulance, didn’t really provide. Kuran faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. A sentencing hearing is planned for Sept. 30 before U.S. District Judge Gerald J. Pappert.

Kuran’s mother, Feda Kuran, is already serving 64 months in federal prison and has been ordered to pay more than $2 million in restitution, having pleaded guilty in April 2014 to healthcare fraud and violating the federal anti-kickback law. Bassem Kuran’s brother, Thael Kuran, was also charged with healthcare fraud in connection with the Brotherly Love Ambulance case.

Bassem Kuran’s VIP Ambulance operated from 220 Geiger Road in Bustleton. Federal investigators charged him last May with making false statements in a healthcare matter for submitting false information on Medicare claims.

Last week, Kuran admitted that he falsified documentation “for ambulance runs that did not occur.” In some cases, patients had actually taken public transportation to their medical appointments.

According to a June 30 Philadelphia Business Journal report, federal investigators in the last five years have brought charges against owners, employees and clients of 10 area ambulance companies whose filings of false claims have resulted in $20 million in losses to Medicare. ••