Armenian National Pleads Guilty in Health Care Fraud and Money Laundering Scheme
|U.S. Attorney’s Office September 25, 2012|
BRUNSWICK, GA—Khoren Gasparian, 29, a citizen of Armenia, pled guilty last week before Chief United States District Court Judge Lisa Godbey Wood to his role in a health care fraud and money laundering conspiracy involving false claims submitted to Medicare by phony medical businesses in the Savannah, Georgia area.
United States Attorney Edward J. Tarver stated, “Investigating and prosecuting health care fraud is one of the top priorities of the Department of Justice. Those who try to rip off American taxpayers by submitting bogus claims to Medicare can expect to serve a lengthy sentence in a federal prison.”
According to the evidence presented at the guilty hearing:
From 2008 through 2010, Gasparian and others defrauded Medicare by opening several phony durable medical equipment companies in Savannah; stealing the identities of hundreds of Medicare beneficiaries and dozens of doctors; and using the stolen information to submit hundreds of thousands of dollars in bogus claims for health care services that were never provided. The evidence showed that Gasparian and others used the stolen identities of doctors and patients from numerous states, including Alaska, California, New York, and Ohio, and even submitted claims for people that were dead. Gasparian was also connected with at least two other phony health care businesses located in California and New Mexico, where he was responsible for approximately $1 million of fraudulent claims submitted to Medicare. At the time, Gasparian was in the United States on an expired visa.
Gasparian is currently serving a prison sentence based on his guilty plea to a health care fraud offense in the District of New Mexico. For his plea in the Southern District of Georgia, Gasparian faces a maximum prison sentence of five years and a fine up to $250,000. After he serves his prison sentences, Gasparian will face deportation proceedings.
The prosecution of Gasparian was part of a multi-jurisdictional investigation involving more than $100 million worth of phony claims submitted to Medicare. Over 35 defendants were charged as part of this investigation in New York, Los Angeles, Savannah, Cleveland, and Albuquerque. The investigation in the Southern District of Georgia was conducted by the FBI, the Department of Health and Human Services-Office of the Inspector General (HHS-OIG), and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Assistant United States Attorney and Criminal Chief Brian T. Rafferty prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States. For additional information, contact First Assistant United States Attorney James D. Durham at (912) 201-2547.