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Purple Heart Transportation Inc. lists its office as being on the 2nd Floor of this establishment on Rockaway Boulevard near 82nd Street.
By Forum Staff
The owner and an employee of an Ozone Park company that provides transportation services for medical patients have been indicted for allegedly stealing more than $1 million from the New York Medicaid program by billing phony trips that were never provided, State Attorney General Tish James recently announced.
Purple Heart Transportation Inc. owner Sean Ally, 44, and company driver, Lissette Joza, 31, were arrested earlier this month upon their arrival at John F. Kennedy International Airport from Guyana. Ally and Joza, as well as Shamiza Ally, who also was indicted, fled the United States several months ago. Shamiza Ally remains a fugitive from justice, James noted.
According to the AG’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, the defendants, together using a number of different techniques, billed Medicaid for transportation services that never occurred. Medicaid reimburses transportation providers for transporting Medicaid patients to and from covered medical services. Between late September 2017 and early May 2019, Purple Heart submitted claims to and collected from Medicaid more than $29 million for allegedly providing transportation services to Medicaid patients in and around New York City. However, prosecutors found and allege that more than $19 million of that amount was for “unmatched services,” services for which there was no corresponding bill for medical treatment for the patients who purportedly received the transportation services.
During their investigation, prosecutors allegedly uncovered a number of different techniques allegedly used by the defendants to submit claims to Medicaid for fake trips. For example, Ally, Joza, and Ally allegedly paid numerous Medicaid patients a weekly kickback to use their Medicaid identification numbers so that they could then bill for non-existent transportation services in the name of these patients. State law strictly prohibits all medical providers, including transportation companies, from paying or offering to pay cash kickbacks to anyone in return for the referral of medical services ultimately paid for by Medicaid.
As a result, according to claims data analyzed by prosecutors and outlined in court, Purple Heart billed Medicaid for fake transportation services supposedly provided to dozens of patients daily by numerous drivers. (Purple Heart repeatedly claimed that their drivers drove upwards of a thousand miles a day in and around New York City’s highways and streets.)
Large sums of that money were then purportedly funneled through bank accounts to the individual defendants and to defendants Heart Holdings, Inc. and SA & SB Enterprises, LLC, both of which are shell companies controlled by one or more of the three defendants. Additionally, portions of the money were then allegedly used to make multiple real estate purchases, while further sums were transferred out of the country.
James noted that, in conjunction with the criminal case, she also obtained court orders to restrain the assets of Ally, Lissette, and Ally; and Purple Heart; SA & SB Enterprises, LLC; and Heart Holdings Corp., and filed a civil asset forfeiture and State False Claims Act action against the criminal defendants. The asset forfeiture action and civil recovery action seeks to recover more than $57 million in damages from the defendants for allegedly defrauding the Medicaid program.