Manager of Now-Defunct Jonesboro Ambulance Company Gets Longer Sentence on Fraud Charges

MARCH 10, 2006 - Posted at 11:19 a.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK, AR - A judge has lengthened the sentence of a former general manager of a Jonesboro ambulance company in a Medicare fraud case.

Kevin Wise, who in February 2004 had been sentenced to 30 months in prison, was re-sentenced yesterday by U.S. District Judge James M. Moody to 37 months behind bars.

However, the judge reduced fines levied against his company, Patient Transfer Service, from $1.2 million to $500,000.

In July, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis sent the case back to U.S. District Court for re-sentencing.

The appeals panel agreed with the company that Moody hadn't adequately reviewed the company's financial resources and the company's ability to pay any fines in considering a penalty.

The appeals court also ruled that Moody had been mistaken in his finding that Wise had accepted some responsibility in the case and was, therefore, entitled to a reduced sentence.

Prosecutors claimed Patient Transfer Service and owner Don Wise, Kevin Wise's brother, were engaged in a conspiracy to cheat government health care programs out of thousands of dollars by filing false claims for ambulance services in the 1990s.  Don Wise was acquitted of conspiracy.

The company Patient Transfer Service no longer exists.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.A)