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October 30, 2014

Owner of Los Angeles Home Health Agency Indicted in $33 Million Medicare Fraud Scheme

WASHINGTON—A superseding indictment was unsealed today charging a co-owner of Fifth Avenue Home Health (Fifth Avenue), a Los Angeles home health agency, with a $33 million scheme to defraud Medicare.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Acting U.S. Attorney Stephanie Yonekura of the Central District of California, Special Agent in Charge Glenn R. Ferry of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) for the Los Angeles Region and Assistant Director in Charge Bill L. Lewis of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office made the announcement.

Angela Avetisyan, 38, of Glendale, California, was indicted in the Central District of California for one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and four counts of health care fraud. Robert A. Glazer, 67, a physician in Los Angeles, California, was previously charged in this case with one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and six counts of health care fraud, and remains charged in this superseding indictment.

According to allegations in the superseding indictment, Avetisyan was the co-owner of Fifth Avenue and the office manager of a Los Angeles medical clinic owned and operated by Glazer. From January 2006 through May 2014, Avetisyan and Glazer allegedly billed Medicare for services that were not medically necessary, and at times were not even provided. In addition, Glazer allegedly signed prescriptions, certifications, and other medical documents for medically unnecessary home health services, hospice services, and power wheelchairs and other durable medical equipment (DME). Avetisyan then allegedly sold the prescriptions and certifications to DME supply companies, home health agencies, and other providers, knowing that the prescriptions and certifications were fraudulent. Using these fraudulent prescriptions and certifications, the DME supply companies, home health agencies, including Fifth Avenue, and other providers then allegedly submitted false and fraudulent claims to Medicare.

From January 2006 through May 2014, fraudulent prescriptions and certifications from Glazer were allegedly responsible for approximately $33,484,779 in false and fraudulent claims to Medicare, and Medicare paid approximately $22,056,332 on those claims.

The charges contained in an indictment are merely accusations, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

This case is being investigated by the FBI and HHS-OIG, and was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, under the supervision of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California. This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Fred Medick, Blanca Quintero, and Ritesh Srivastava of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.

Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in nine cities across the country, has charged nearly 2,000 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $6 billion. In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.

To learn more about the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Team (HEAT), go to: www.stopmedicarefraud.gov.

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