A female defendant who formerly worked at a medical equipment supply company on North Vermont Avenue, as well as a medical supply company in Van Nuys, was sentenced on April 14 to 76 months in federal prison for orchestrating a scheme that submitted nearly $25 million in fraudulent bills to Medicare.
Susanna Artsruni, 46, who formerly owned a durable medical equipment (DME) company and worked at numerous other medical clinics in Los Angeles, was sentenced by United States District Judge Margaret M. Morrow. Artsruni, who often used the names “Mary” and “Rose,” was sentenced after pleading guilty earlier this year to one count of health care fraud and one count of money laundering. Additionally, Morrow ordered Artsruni to pay more than $9.6 million in restitution to the Medicare program.
In a plea agreement filed in United States District Court, Artsruni admitted that she defrauded Medicare in multiple ways. In one part of the scheme, Artsruni had physician’s assistants at three Los Angeles medical clinics sign prescriptions and orders for medically unnecessary DME and diagnostic tests that were later referred to other Medicare providers that billed for the equipment and tests. Artsruni also had the three clinics to bill Medicare for medically unnecessary services.
Additionally, the defendant fraudulently billed Medicare on behalf of her own DME supply company, Midvalley Medical Supply in Van Nuys, for medically unnecessary DME based on referrals from one of the three medical clinics. In total, Artsruni was found to be responsible for more than $24.8 million in fraudulent claims to be submitted to Medicare, which paid more than $9.6 million on the bogus bills. Artsruni also admitted that she wrote checks totaling more than $35,000 from the Midvalley bank account to three corporations that had no connection to the medical industry and apparently had not provided any legitimate business services to Midvalley. She admitted that she wrote the checks to conceal the nature of the funds as the proceeds of health care fraud, and used the three corporations to launder the funds.
A second defendant in the case, Erasmus Kotey, a physician’s assistant who worked with Artsruni in a medical clinic on North Vermont Avenue, has pleaded guilty and is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 8.
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