Armenian National Sentenced to Five Years in Prison for Role in $1 Million Health Care Fraud and Money Laundering Scheme
|U.S. Attorney’s Office May 18, 2012|
BRUNSWICK, GA—Sahak Tumanyan, 42, was sentenced Wednesday by Chief United States District Court Judge Lisa Godbey Wood to five years in prison for his role in a health care fraud and money laundering conspiracy in which more than $1.5 million was stolen from Medicare through a phony medical business in Brunswick, Georgia.
United States Attorney Edward J. Tarver said, “The defendant’s cohorts stole over $1 million of taxpayer dollars from Medicare. Then, the defendant helped launder the ill-gotten gains through an intricate series of phony businesses. Our team of federal prosecutors, agents, and auditors will follow the trails of stolen money so that organized criminals such as these will be held accountable for their fraudulent schemes.”
Derrick L. Jackson, Special Agent in Charge of the Atlanta Region for the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services, said, “This sentence sends a clear-cut message to organized crime groups that infiltrate our nation’s health care system to steal from the taxpayers. The Office of Inspector General will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners to bring these criminal enterprises to justice.”
Brian D. Lamkin, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office, stated, “The FBI remains committed to identifying, investigating, and presenting for prosecution those individuals such as Mr. Tumanyan who would launder stolen federal funds from programs such as Medicare. While the FBI dedicates extensive investigative resources to these matters, we also ask for the public’s assistance in bringing forward any instances of health care fraud, to include Medicare and Medicaid fraud, to the appropriate authorities.”
Tumanyan, who was in the United States on an expired Visa from Armenia and who resided in Los Angeles until the time of his arrest in this case, previously pleaded guilty to a money laundering conspiracy charge. According to the evidence presented at the guilty plea and sentencing hearings:
Brunswick Medical Supply was a fraudulent medical equipment provider that was opened in Brunswick in 2007. Associates of Tumanyan fraudulently obtained a Medicare provider number for this phony businesses, stole the identities of hundreds of Medicare beneficiaries, stole the identities of dozens of doctors, and used this stolen information to submit millions of dollars in phony claims for health care services that were never provided. Medicare paid approximately $1.5 million for these fraudulent claims before Brunswick Medical Supply was shut down. Tumanyan then took numerous steps to launder the money stolen from Medicare. Tumanyan opened at least four sham businesses in Los Angeles; opened multiple bank accounts in the names of these businesses; and used these bank accounts to launder the proceeds of the fraud at Brunswick Medical Supply. The evidence also showed that Tumanyan helped launder hundreds of thousands of dollars of other money stolen through various schemes to defraud, such as identity theft, check kiting, and other health care fraud schemes.
In addition to a five-year prison sentence, the court ordered Tumanyan to pay restitution to Medicare in the amount of $308,963, and to serve three years of supervised release. After Tumanyan finishes serving his prison sentence, he will face deportation proceedings.
The prosecution of Tumanyan was part of a multi-jurisdictional investigation involving more than $100 million worth of phony claims submitted to Medicare. More than 35 defendants were charged as part of this investigation in Brunswick, Georgia; New York; Los Angeles; Cleveland; and Albuquerque. The investigation in the Southern District of Georgia was the result of a multi-agency team of federal, state, and local agents led by the FBI; the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General; and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). Assistant United States Attorney Brian T. Rafferty prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States. For additional information, please contact First Assistant United States Attorney James D. Durham at (912) 201-2547.