Armenian National Pleads Guilty in $1.5 Million Health Care Fraud and Money Laundering Scheme
|U.S. Attorney’s Office April 26, 2013|
BRUNSWICK, GA—Avetik Moskovian, 46, an Armenian national, pled guilty Tuesday before Chief United States District Court Judge Lisa Godbey Wood to his role in a conspiracy launder approximately $1.5 million in funds defrauded from Medicare through a phony medical business in Brunswick, Georgia.
Moskovian, who resided in Los Angeles until the time of his arrest and was here in the United States on a permanent residence card from Armenia, pleaded guilty to money laundering conspiracy in violation of Title 18, United State Code, Section 1956(h), before Chief United States District Court Judge Lisa Godbey Wood.
According to the evidence presented at Moskovian’S guilty plea hearing:
From 2007 through 2008, various conspirators defrauded Medicare through a durable medical equipment company in Brunswick, Georgia, known as Brunswick Medical Supply. These conspirators submitted millions of dollars in phony claims for health care services that were never provided. The evidence showed that the conspirators stole the identities for doctors and patients from multiple different states, including Alaska, California, New York, and Ohio, and even submitted claims for people that were deceased at the time that he claimed to have provided them the medical equipment.
Once Medicare paid for these phony claims, Moskovian and others took numerous steps to launder the stolen money. Moskovian helped form 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. Moskovian engaged in multiple financial transactions within these accounts, including wire transfers and counter withdrawals of tens of thousands of dollars in cash, as part of his effort to help hide the money defrauded from Medicare.
Moskovian now faces a maximum statutory penalty of up to 20 years in prison; a fine up to $500,000; and five years of supervised release. His sentencing will be scheduled after the United States Probation Office completes a presentence investigation.
United States Attorney Edward J. Tarver said, “Moskovian and others in this criminal organization thought that they could exploit Medicare to steal from this nation’s taxpayers and then avoid detection through this defendant’s money laundering operations. They were wrong. With this money laundering conviction, this office and its law enforcement partners have taken another important step towards cleaning up the fraud in our nation’s health care programs.”
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, “Avetik Moskovian engaged in a scheme to defraud Medicare by conducting numerous financial transactions with money that was generated through unlawful activity. The OIG strongly pursues those who abuse government health care programs for financial gain.”
Mark F. Giuliano, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office, stated, “The FBI remains very committed toward providing the much needed investigative resources in protecting such federally funded programs like Medicare from fraud and abuse. Mr. Moskovian, in diverting those public funds to his personal bank account, denied other individuals the health care that those funds were intended for.”
The prosecution of Moskovian 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 and HHS-OIG, working together to combat health care fraud.
Assistant United States Attorney Brian T. Rafferty prosecuted the case. For additional information, please contact First Assistant United States Attorney James D. Durham at (912) 201-2547.