A former Freeport couple have been sentenced for health care fraud and tax evasion related to their transportation companies for MaineCare patients.

U.S. District Judge D. Brock Hornby ordered the husband and wife to repay restitution of more than $300,000 to MaineCare and $93,000 to the Internal Revenue Services. Robert Zuschlag, 60, was also sentenced to 30 months in prison and three years of probation for a health fraud scheme and tax evasion. Kristen Zuschlag, 55, was sentenced to three years of probation for submitting false documents to investigators and tax evasion.

The couple were living in Ellijay, Georgia, when they were indicted on a host of federal charges in Maine. Both defendants ultimately pleaded guilty in July 2018 in U.S. District Court in Portland. A number of charges against them, including several related to money laundering, were dismissed as part of their plea agreements.

Court documents show Robert Zuschlag owned Freeport Transit Inc. and provided nonemergency transportation to MaineCare patients. In 2009, an auditor flagged the company for violating billing rules. Within weeks, Kristen Zuschlag formed C3 Transport as a wheelchair transport company and applied to MaineCare to be a wheelchair provider. She did not disclose her husband’s involvement in the company, but the two entities began operating as one in violation of MaineCare regulations.

Federal prosecutors said Robert Zuschlag was the primary face of the businesses, and employees had almost no interaction with his wife.

In 2011, another audit uncovered evidence of fraudulent and false referral slips, which were intended to hide the relationship between the two companies. The auditors referred the case to state and federal investigators in 2013, according to a press release from the Maine Attorney General’s Office. The couple were first indicted in 2016.

Court documents show the Zuschlags have been free on personal recognizance bond.

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