Ambulance owner pleads guilty to Medicare fraud
An Indianapolis ambulance company owner admits he took the Federal government for more than a half-million dollars in what they call a transport billing scheme.
Kenneth Lock II owned and operated Samaritan Ambulance for several years in the Circle City. Federal officials filed a formal guilty plea agreement, signed by Lock, Thursday in US District Court.
Although this may be Lock's biggest legal issue, it is most likely not going to be his only one. Indianapolis resident Nicole Hamilton has been trying to locate Lock for months. Hamilton told Eyewitness News she still suffers from injuries after the ambulance owner struck her in the Broad Ripple business district this past January.
"I am told that I flew through the air about 10-15 feet and then skid on the pavement on my hip another ten feet," Hamilton said. "I still have a hematoma on my leg that has not gone down."
Hamilton claims Lock was even driving the wrong way on a one-way street when he struck her.
Metro police officers responded to the scene and called for a different ambulance to transport her to the hospital. Hamilton had just gotten out of the car when it happened, so her husband watched the entire thing from the driver's seat of their car.
"My husband ran over to me and he thought I was dead. He still has nightmares about it. I still have nightmares about getting hit," she said.
Nicole hopes she can hold Lock responsible for her medical bills of about $10,000. Her hope is to file a claim with whoever his insurance company was with the ambulance company.
Although she's had little luck finding 24-year-old Kenneth Lock, federal authorities caught up with him, saying he falsely billed Medicare for more than a half-million dollars.
After state officials suspended Lock's ambulance operating license in February, here's the scheme investigators say they uncovered. For two years, Federal court documents show Lock repeatedly charged Medicare $330 to transport patients in his ambulance. But those same patients only needed a transport van at a Medicare fee of only $40. The court documents indicate Lock illegally banked $559,785.85.
Eyewitness News paid a visit to Lock's Indianapolis home. No one answered the door where the dog barked non-stop.
Lock's old business location on Enterprise Drive in east Indianapolis is now empty with "Available: Lease" signs posted out front. When Eyewitness News visited the same location this past February after the state suspended his operating license an employee did not know Lock's whereabouts.
Federal court documents showing Lock's signature on a guilty plea contain instructions for him to call for a sentencing date. Lock faces up to ten years in prison and could be ordered to pay anywhere from $400,000 to $1 million in restitution. He also faces forfeiture of any assets or personal property obtained with monies paid to his company from Medicare.
Investigators say on October 29, 2012, Lock used $11,201.15 cash from his business account to purchase a 2004 Ford F-150 pick-up truck registered to Samaritan Ambulance LLC.