Armenian National Sentenced to 41 Months in Prison for Role in Health Care Fraud Conspiracy
|U.S. Attorney’s Office March 12, 2013|
BRUNSWICK, GA—Khoren Gasparian, 30, an Armenian national, was sentenced last Friday by Chief United States District Court Judge Lisa Godbey Wood to 41 months in prison for his role in a conspiracy to defraud Medicare through phony medical businesses in Savannah, Georgia.
Gasparian, who at the time of these offenses was in the United States on an expired visa from Armenia, previously pleaded guilty to a conspiracy to defraud Medicare. According to the evidence presented at Gasparian’s guilty plea and sentencing hearings:
From 2008 through 2010, Gasparian and others opened medical equipment companies in Savannah, Georgia, known as Healthy Family, SOJ Group, and Savana Medical. Once opened, Gasparian and his cohorts stole the identities of hundreds of Medicare beneficiaries; stole the identities of dozens of doctors; and used this stolen information to submit hundreds of thousands of dollars in phony claims to Medicare for health care services that were never provided. Gasparian and others used the stolen identities of doctors and patients from multiple different states, including Alaska, California, New York, and Ohio and even submitted claims for people that were dead at the time they were alleged to have been provided medical equipment. Gasparian was also connected with at least two other phony health care businesses located in California and New Mexico. He was responsible for approximately $1 million worth of fraudulent claims submitted to Medicare.
United States Attorney Edward J. Tarver said, “Medicare fraud affects every American taxpayer. The United States Attorney’s Office has aggressively pursued healthcare fraudsters from around the world who’ve attempted to set up shop here in the Southern District of Georgia. The risk of detection is high for those who submit fraudulent claims to Medicare and the penalty will be substantial.”
“Criminals who steal from federal health care programs and taxpayers will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said Derrick L. Jackson, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General for the Atlanta region. “The Office of Inspector General and our law enforcement partners will continue to aggressively pursue these thieves to ensure they are held accountable.”
Mark F. Giuliano, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office, stated, “The FBI will continue to work with its various law enforcement partners to identify, investigate, and bring forward for prosecution those individuals such as Mr. Gasparian who would steal funds from much needed federal programs such as Medicare.”
In addition to being sentenced to 41 months in prison, Gasparian was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $182,735 and to serve three years of supervised release upon completion of his prison sentence. There is no parole in the federal system. At the time of his guilty plea in Georgia, Gasparian was serving a prison sentence based on his guilty plea to a health care fraud offense in the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico. After Gasparian finishes serving his prison sentences, he will face immigration proceedings that will likely result in his deportation to Armenia.
The prosecution of Gasparian in the Southern District of Georgia is part of a multi-jurisdictional investigation involving more than $200 million worth of phony claims submitted to Medicare. More than 35 defendants were arrested as part of this investigation. In addition to the Southern District of Georgia, numerous charges were filed in 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 Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Department of Health and Human Services-Office of the Inspector General (HHS/OIG), and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), working together to combat health care fraud. 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.