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A.G. Underwood announces guilty pleas of transportation company employees who stole over $1.2 million from Medicaid

PRESS RELEASE

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood today announced the guilty pleas of 716 Transportation, Inc. of Tonawanda, NY; its President, Wossen Ambaye; and one of the company's drivers, Haimid Thompson, for stealing over $1.2 million in a Medicaid fraud scheme.

716 Transportation, Inc., with offices at 49 Raintree Island in Tonawanda, pleaded guilty today to Grand Larceny in the Second Degree (a Class C felony). Company President Wossen Ambaye, 38, of Tonawanda, pleaded guilty to Grand Larceny in the Third Degree (a Class D felony). Both pleas were entered in State Supreme Court before Judge John Michalski.

"False reporting of medical transport costs New York taxpayers millions every year," said Attorney General Underwood. "My office will continue to prosecute those who try to scam the system — critical to preserving Medicaid resources for the vulnerable New Yorkers who rely on them."
In court, 716 Transportation Inc. admitted to obtaining over $1.2 million in Medicaid payments by falsely representing that transportation services had been provided in accordance with Medicaid rules and regulations when, in fact, the services billed were never provided or were provided in direct violation of the rules and regulations. Company President Wossen Ambaye admitted to billing for services that did not, in fact, take place.

716 Transportation will be subject to a fine of $10,000 or double the amount gained by its commission of the crime when sentenced on October 16, 2018.
As a condition of his plea, Ambaye will pay $900,497 in restitution to the state and faces up to 2 1/3 to 7 years in prison.

Additionally, Haimid Thompson, a.k.a. "Mookie," 48, of Jamestown, New York, pleaded guilty to Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree (a class E felony) before State Supreme Court Judge Paul Wojtoszek on July 11, 2018.

In pleading guilty, Thompson admitted that in February 2017, he paid an individual who was working with investigators – identified in court documents as Medicaid Recipient A – $100 for signing up to receive services from 716 Transportation and $300 for each week that they remained with the company. Thompson further acknowledged that over a three-week period from February to March 2017, he submitted Daily Driver's Logs to 716 to indicate that Medicaid Recipient A received daily round trip transports between Jamestown and Buffalo that, in fact, did not occur. Thompson also admitted that 716 then submitted claims to Medicaid and received over $7,500 of payment based upon his false Daily Driver's Logs.

As a condition of his plea, Thompson is required to pay $23,598 in restitution to the state by August 1, 2018. As a prior felon, he faces a mandatory jail sentence of up to two to four years in state prison upon sentencing on September 24, 2018.

The Attorney General thanks the New York State Police, the New York State Department of Financial Services, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the United States Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General for their assistance in this investigation.
The investigation by the New York State Attorney General's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit was conducted by Investigator Milagro Bosque, under the supervision of Supervising Investigator James Zablonski, and Auditor-Investigator Sean McShea, under the supervision of Regional Chief Auditor Frank Zeffiro. William Falk is Deputy Chief Investigator-Upstate.

The case is being prosecuted by Gary A. Baldauf, Buffalo Regional Director of the Attorney General's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. Catherine Wagner is Chief of Criminal Investigations-Upstate. The Medicaid Fraud Control Unit is led by Director Amy Held and Assistant Deputy Attorney General Paul J. Mahoney. The Division of Criminal Justice is led by Executive Deputy Attorney General Margaret Garnett.