Stockbridge business owner sentenced for fraud

By Kathy Jefcoats

The Stockbridge owner of am ambulance service was ordered to pay his share of almost $1 million in restitution to the U.S. government as part of his conviction on conspiracy and fraud charges.

Akintola "Joe" Williams, 42, was sentenced Monday by U.S. District Judge Willis Hunt on charges of conspiracy and fraud against Medicare and Medicaid. Williams was convicted as owner of First Meds EMS Inc., a patient ambulance transport company.

The company was fined $650,000. Williams was ordered to pay half of $959,257.31 in restitution in addition to two years, six months in prison. Williams was ordered to perform 100 hours of community service and spend three years on supervised release.

Carleton Jerome Robinson, 46, of Stone Mountain, was convicted as company director, and sentenced to one year, nine months in prison, 100 hours of community service and three years supervised release.

The men pleaded guilty to the charges Oct. 3. U.S. Attorney William S. Duffey Jr. said the company and the men conspired to defraud the federal Department of Health and Human Services and its Medicare and Medicaid programs between early 2000 through March 25, 2003.

The fraud included the filing of false documentation that claimed medically-necessary single patient transports occurred in First Meds ambulances, accompanied by the required two licensed emergency EMS personnel.

In fact, said Duffey, an investigation showed that the defendants billed for services to people who were not medically qualified to receive such transports, that they often transported multiple patients at the same time, they billed for services provided by one or more unlicensed individuals on emergency and non-emergency calls and that they billed for transportation in vehicles that were not licensed as ambulances.