Local Doctor and Four Others Charged with Defrauding Medicare of Nearly $3 Million
HOUSTON—Leonard Kibert M.D., 63, of Houston, has been charged in a 47-count indictment alleging a conspiracy to defraud Medicare of $2.9 million, announced United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Also charged in the indictment are Tsolak Gevorgyan, 28, Christopher O’Brien, 41, Gregorius Brown, 48, and Robert Manning, 58, all also of Houston.
The five defendants were charged in a sealed indictment, returned May 14, 2014. That indictment was unsealed this morning upon their arrest by federal authorities. Kibert, O’Brien, Brown, and Manning are expected to make their initial appearances before U.S. Magistrate Judge Frances Stacy this afternoon. Gevorgyan was arrested this morning in Glendale, California, and should make his initial appearance before a U.S. magistrate judge in Los Angeles sometime today.
According to the indictment, the fraudulent Medicare billing was for diagnostic testing at the New Life Sleeping & Allergy Disorder Center located on the 2100 block of Chenevert Street in Houston. The facility was owned by Kibert and managed by Gevorgyan.
The indictment charges all five with health care fraud for filing false claims with Medicare for medical procedures which either were never performed or were not medically necessary. Gevorgyan and Manning are also charged with conspiracy to pay and receive illegal kickbacks in addition to four kickback counts. Kibert is also charged with money laundering.
According to the allegations in the indictment, Kibert was the only doctor working at the New Life Center. O’Brien and Brown allegedly worked as physician assistants at New Life even though O’Brien held no such license. Manning, allegedly paid by Gevorgyan, was a recruiter/marketer who brought patients to the clinics, according to the indictment. Manning was allegedly paid more than $229,000 in kickbacks for bring patients to New Life.
If convicted, each of the 37 health care fraud counts, the conspiracy charge and money laundering carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in a federal prison. For conspiracy to pay and receive kickbacks and paying and receiving of kickbacks, the possible sentence is a maximum five years in prison. All charges also carry a maximum possible $250,000 fine, if convicted.
The criminal charges are the result of a joint investigation conducted by agents of the FBI, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services-Office of Inspector General, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation and the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the Texas Attorney General’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) Al Balboni and Special AUSA Adrienne Frazior are prosecuting the case.
An indictment is an accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until convicted through due process of law.