Federal Court Upholds Lower Fine for Jonesboro Ambulance Company

OCTOBER 12, 2006 - Posted at 7:23 a.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - A federal appeals court has upheld a reduced fine imposed on a now-defunct Jonesboro ambulance firm convicted of Medicare fraud.  Patient Transfer Service, which had earlier been fined $1,177,786, was ordered in March by U.S. District Judge James M. Moody to pay a fine less than half that amount...$500,000.  The lower fine was imposed after Moody reviewed the sentence at the direction of the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at St. Louis.

Yesterday, the Eighth Circuit affirmed the lower fine.

Kevin Wise, the company's general manager, was sentenced by Moody in March to 37 months behind bars.  Prosecutors claimed PTS and owner Don Wise, Kevin Wise's brother, were engaged in a conspiracy to cheat government health-care programs out of hundreds of thousands of dollars by filing false claims for ambulance services in the 1990s.  Don Wise was acquitted of conspiracy.

The company allegedly sought reimbursement for dialysis patients who didn't need an ambulance to take them back and forth for treatment.

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