73 indicted in Medicare fraud ring

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Seventy-three defendants, including a number of alleged members and associates of an Armenian-American organized crime enterprise, were charged with various healthcare fraud-related crimes in indictments unsealed Wednesday in five judicial districts. The allegations involve more than $163 million in fraudulent billing, announced Acting Deputy Attorney General Gary G. Grindler, FBI Assistant Director of the Criminal Investigative Division Kevin Perkins and Health and Human Services Inspector General Daniel R. Levinson.

FBI agents arrested 52 people in a nationwide, multiagency investigation of the largest Medicare fraud scheme ever perpetrated by a single criminal enterprise and charged by the Department of Justice, according to the FBI.

Defendants are charged with engaging in numerous fraud activities, including highly organized, multi-million-dollar schemes to defraud Medicare and insurance companies by submitting fraudulent bills for medically unnecessary treatments or treatments that were never performed. According to the indictments, members and associates of the Mirzoyan-Terdjanian organized crime enterprise perpetrated a large-scale, nationwide Medicare scam that fraudulently billed Medicare for more than $100 million of unnecessary medical treatments using a series of phantom clinics. The defendants allegedly stole the identities of doctors and thousands of Medicare beneficiaries, and operated at least 118 phony clinics in 25 states.

In two indictments unsealed in the Southern District of New York, 44 defendants were charged with racketeering conspiracy and conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud, bank fraud, money laundering, fraud in connection with identity theft, credit card fraud and immigration fraud.

In addition, seven defendants were charged in the District of New Mexico with healthcare fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering conspiracy, money laundering, forfeiture and aggravated identity theft.

Six defendants were charged in the Southern District of Georgia with healthcare fraud, conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud, money laundering conspiracy and aggravated identity theft

Six defendants were charged in the Northern District of Ohio with healthcare fraud, mail fraud, conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering and aggravated identity theft.

Ten defendants were charged in two indictments in the Central District of California with conspiracy to commit bank fraud, bank fraud, money laundering, conspiracy to launder monetary instruments, criminal forfeiture, aggravated identity theft and aiding, abetting, and causing an act to be done.

The defendants charged in each district will be prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys from each of the respective districts in which the defendants were charged. The cases were investigated by special agents from the FBI’s Los Angeles and N.Y. field offices.