New York State Inspector General Letizia Tagliafierro today announced the guilty plea of a taxi and medical transport company owner for his part in a multi-million dollar Medicaid and workers’ compensation fraud involving nearly a dozen companies servicing the Adirondack and Capital regions.
Waqas Nauman, 37, of Queensbury, an owner of Green Mountain Medical Transportation, Inc., which is also known as Green Mountain Taxi, pleaded guilty in the United States Court of the Northern District of New York in Albany today to the federal crime of Health Care Fraud. As part of his plea, Nauman agreed to pay $55,000 in restitution. Nauman is scheduled to be sentenced on December 10, 2019 before Senior United States District Judge Thomas J. McAvoy. Nauman faces a maximum penalty of imprisonment for a term of ten years and a $250,000 fine.
Nauman was among 13 taxi and medical transport company owners and operators arrested in May 2018 on State and federal charges alleging millions of dollars in theft and fraud against the Medicaid and workers’ compensation systems. Several additional defendants have pleaded guilty in State and Federal Court while charges remain pending against others.
The pleas and remaining charges are the result of a two-year joint State and federal investigation that included the execution of multiple search warrants and 13 arrests in May 2018. The allegations included billing Medicaid for trips that never occurred, bribing Medicaid recipient patients with kickbacks for using their specific transport companies, failing to provide employees of the transport companies with required workers’ compensation insurance, and filing documents falsely certifying required workers’ compensation coverage in order to provide Medicaid transport services. Altogether, the charges allege millions of dollars in fraudulent Medicaid billings and the investigation is ongoing.
Medicaid is a county, state and federally funded benefit program proving health care coverage for individuals with limited income.
“Nauman’s plea, along with those of other taxi and medical transport company owners and operators, sheds light on the corrupt practices of these companies,” said New York State Inspector General Letizia Tagliafierro. “I will continue to work with my State, local and federal law enforcement partners to put an end to such abuses of the Medicaid and workers’ compensation systems.”
Inspector General Letizia Tagliafierro thanked United States Attorney for the Northern District of New York Grant C. Jaquith and his office for prosecuting the federal charges in these cases, the New York State Police Special Investigations Unit and Troop B for their work investigating these cases, Rensselaer County District Attorney Mary Pat Donnelly and her office for prosecuting the State charges, Essex County District Attorney Kristy Sprague and her office for their assistance with the investigation and prosecutions, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for its assistance on the investigations.
Others assisting with the investigations include the New York State Joint Task Force on Worker Exploitation and Employee Misclassification, New York State Department of Labor, New York State Workers’ Compensation Board’s Compliance Division, Office of the New York State Comptroller Division of Investigations, New York State Attorney General’s Office’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, Essex County Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Homeland Security Investigations, and the Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.