The Medical Center Navicent Health has agreed to pay the federal government and the state more than $2.5 million for false claims.

That's according to a news release from acting U.S. Attorney Pete Peterman.

He says the claims involved bills for ambulance transports that were inflated or medically unnecessary.

According to Peterman, the case started 27 months ago with a whistleblower lawsuit filed by Andre Valentine, a former Navicent paramedic who'll get a share of the settlement.

The federal government says they identified two suspected schemes: They say Navicent billed non-emergency trips between hospitals as emergency trips and also billed non-emergency trips, by patients who were being released to their homes, nursing facilities or other locations, as emergency trips.

Petermans' news release says their Aug. 3 settlement with Navicent is not a finding of guilt.

This is at least the third time in less than three years that Navicent has paid settlements to the federal government. Those settlements total more than $24 million.

In April 2015, Navicent paid $20 million to settle a dispute over Medicare billing. The hospital said the government accused tehm of submitting claims for short-term inpatient admissions that should have been billed as outpatient care.

In October 2015, they paid $1.6 million after a federal complaint said Navicent put dozens of cardiac devices in people, and that those procedures violated Medicare rules. That was part of a national settlement involving about 500 hospitals.