The Florida Times-Union had an article about the recent arrests in Savannah, Georgia for Medicare Fraud. The investigation, dubbed Diagnosis Dollars, resulted in the arrests of 52 people across the U.S. in what authorities described as "the largest Medicare fraud scheme ever perpetrated by a single criminal enterprise."
A federal indictment unsealed names five Armenians and a Savannah woman as among 73 defendants in an organized crime ring that submitted more than $163 million in phony Medicare claims. Six defendants indicted are accused of opening five sham clinics in Brunswick, Savannah and Macon that they used in a conspiracy to defraud Medicare of $4 million. See also L.A. Times article here. Nationwide, the ring operated at least 118 phony clinics in 25 states.
The indictment names Armenians Arthur Manasarian, 58; Gegham Sargsyan, 56; Khoren Gasparian, 27; Sahak Tumanyan, 43, and his wife, Hamsik Tumanyan, 38; and Toni R. Lowery, 27, of Savannah. Manasarian and the Tumanyans were arrested in the Los Angeles area while Lowery was arrested in Savannah. Sargsyan and Gasparian are fugitives and are thought to be outside the country, he said.
The indictment names one of the phony businesses, Brunswick Medical Supply Inc. at 1603 Gloucester St., and names Sargsyan as its president. The address now houses a photography studio that has portraits on display in its windows. There were three sham businesses in Savannah and one in Macon, the indictment says.
The defendants used misappropriated physicians' names and Medicare provider numbers to submit fraudulent claims from those rented business addresses. The physicians and patients had no idea their Medicare information was being used to submit false bills.
The four arrested in the indictment unsealed in Brunswick are among 52 arrested, the U.S. Justice Department said in a news release.
A Justice Department release laid out the huge size of the organization that operated in New York, Los Angeles and internationally. It was named after its principal leaders, Davit Mirzoyan and Robert Terdjanian, two defendants in the case filed in New York. The ring includes a select group of criminals from Russia and countries that were part of the former Soviet Union including Armenia, the Justice Department said.
Conspiracy to commit health care fraud is punishable by a maximum 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Each count of health care fraud is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. Money laundering conspiracy carries a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment and a fine up to $500,000.