An indictment was unsealed on Oct. 8 charging two managers and operators of three Los Angeles medical clinics with Medicare fraud, and conspiracy to pay illegal kickbacks for medical procedures that were never provided.
Hovik Simitian, 47, of Los Angeles, and Anahit Shatvoryan, 49, of Glendale, were each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, six counts of health care fraud and one count of conspiracy to pay health care kickbacks.
According to allegations in the indictment, Simitian and Shatvoryan managed and operated Columbia Medical Group Inc., Life Care Medical Clinic and Safe Health Medical Clinic — out of two suites in the same office building. From approximately February 2010 through June 2014, Simitian and Shatvoryan paid marketers illegal kickbacks to recruit Medicare beneficiaries to the clinics. They then submitted false claims to Medicare for services — including procedures such as anorectal manometry and nerve conduction tests — that were not medically necessary and never actually provided.
From approximately February 2010 through June 2014, the clinics allegedly submitted $4.5 million in false and fraudulent claims to Medicare, and Medicare paid $1.6 million on the claims.
The case is being investigated by the FBI and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, and was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force. Attorneys Blanca Quintero and Alexander F. Porter, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, are prosecuting the case.
Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force has charged nearly 2,000 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $6 billion. For information about the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team, visit www.stopmedicarefraud.gov.
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