Medicaid taxi businesses targeted in North Country police raids

TICONDEROGA, N.Y. (WCAX) Police raids across northern New York Tuesday apparently targeted businesses that operate Medicaid transportation services.

Investigators are not saying much about the raids but a half dozen people are facing state criminal charges.

From Plattsburgh to Ticonderoga, gas stations and convenience stores were lined with police tape and swarming with state and federal law enforcement officers.

Officers filled the streets in Ticonderoga Tuesday morning.

"At first I didn't know what was going on, what can I say?" said Edward Gurley of Ticonderoga.

Raids just like that one popped up in communities across the North Country.

"There was a van and a state trooper van and a car and all that. And I didn't know, obviously, what was going on," said Kevin Snell of Ticonderoga.

The raids come after a lengthy investigation by the New York State Police and the inspector general's office. Other agencies, like the Essex County Sheriff's Department and the FBI, also helped.

The agencies on scene, the governor's office and the Essex County district attorney all declined to comment on the investigation, but while in court, District Attorney Kristy Sprague referred to the defendants' Medicaid taxi businesses.

So far, six people have been arraigned at Essex County Court. They are all of Pakistani heritage and own gas stations and Medicaid taxi companies. The charges so far include grand larceny, false instrument filing, falsifying business records and failing to ensure workers' compensation.

These were just arraignments Tuesday-- all will be back in court Wednesday. Most had bail set at $2 million.

New York State Police say we should know more about the situation at the end of the week.