Search Warrants and Arrest Warrants Executed on Organized Health Care Fraud Crime Ring
|FBI New Orleans April 26, 2011|
NEW ORLEANS—Eight people were arrested and 10 search warrants were executed in furtherance of an extensive investigation into alleged organized crime ring responsible for submitting over $12 million in fraudulent Medicare and Medicaid claims, announced FBI Special Agent in Charge David Welker; U.S. Attorney Jim Letten; Special Agent in Charge Mike Fields, Office of Inspector General, Department of Health and Human Services, Dallas Regional Office; Fred Duhy, Director, Louisiana Department of Justice, Medicaid Fraud Control Unit; and Buddy Caldwell, Louisiana State Attorney General.
Specifically, Aram Khlgation, age 55; Artem Gasparyan, age 46; Vadim Mysak, age 24; Daria Litvinova, age 24; Anahit Petrosyan, age 32; Dr. Jack Voight, age 79; Dr. Jerry Haskin, 78; and Joann Girod, age 38—all residents of the Greater New Orleans area—were arrested pursuant to a federal criminal complaint charging health care fraud. Additionally, 10 different metropolitan area locations were searched. All defendants remain in custody. Bond has been set as to Khlgation, Voight, Haskin, and Girod. The remaining defendants' detention hearings are still pending.
According to the criminal complaint, the year-long investigation has determined that various metro-area clinics, and persons associated with these clinics, have submitted false and fraudulent claims to Medicare and Medicaid for medical services that were either not rendered or rendered without any underlying medical necessity as required by both Medicare and Medicaid regulations. During the course of the investigation, information was received that the clinics, through the physicians and others associated with the clinics, were submitting false claims to Medicare and Medicaid for diagnostic services that were not rendered or medically necessary. Further according to the complaint, information developed during the course of the investigation indicated that persons associated with the clinics were paying "marketers" and "recruiters" kickbacks for locating, referring, and transporting patients to the clinics for the sole purpose of allowing the clinics to bill Medicare and Medicaid for procedures that either were not rendered or were not medically necessary. The complaint alleges that doctors gave prescriptions for scheduled pain medications for patients in return for undergoing the diagnostic tests and then these prescription medications were often then shared with the "marketers" and "recruiters."
Louisiana State Attorney General Buddy Caldwell stated: "This joint investigation between state and federal agencies sends a loud message that Medicaid fraud will absolutely not be tolerated in Louisiana. The Attorney General's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) will continue to aggressively pursue the individuals who choose to defraud Louisiana's Medicaid program and steal taxpayers' dollars."
Department of Health and Hospitals Secretary Bruce D. Greenstein stated: "Let me be clear. Our number one priority is to ensure our resources are spent wisely on health care services. We are going to go after everyone who cheats our system and steals from taxpayers and those that need care the most: children, people with disabilities and the elderly. Now more than ever, a team effort is vital to success in combating health care fraud statewide and we are committed to working with our partners in this fight."
The public is reminded that a criminal complaint is merely a charge and that the guilt of the defendants must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
The investigation is being conducted by special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General; and the Louisiana Department of Justice's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Patrice Harris Sullivan, G. Dall Kammer, and Jordan S. Ginsberg.