September 22, 2012 - 13:56 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - An Armenian national pleaded guilty Friday, Sept 21, to helping set up phony clinics in Brunswick and Savannah that were used to submit nearly $400,000 in false Medicare claims, jacksonville.com reported.
Speaking through an interpreter, Khoren Gasparian, 29, acknowledged to Chief U.S. District Judge Lisa Godbey Wood his role in a fraud scheme that stretched from New York to Los Angeles.
Run from Los Angeles by Armenian immigrant Arthur Mansarian, the scheme used doctors’ and patients’ identifications that were stolen to submit more than $200 million in phony claims.
Mansarian, 49, pleaded guilty to submitting $7.4 million in false claims through nine phony medical supply businesses and is serving a 14-year prison sentence. At his sentencing, Wood ordered him to repay the government $1.8 million.
Shahak Tumanyan, 44, who pleaded guilty to money laundering, is serving five years and must pay $309,000 in restitution. Tumanyan is in the country illegally and will be deported as soon as he completes his sentence.
When the government began making arrests in the scheme last year, Gasparian was living in Moscow and saw international news accounts, FBI Special Agent Tony Alig testified Friday in Gasparian’s change of plea hearing.
Gasparian went to the U.S. legal attache’s office in Moscow and told officials there of his role in the scheme, Alig said.
Gasparian flew to Washington on July 7, 2011, and was arrested. He admitted that the clinics he helped set up in Savannah and Brunswick were “completely a fraud,’’ Alig testified. He also confessed to similar activities in New Mexico, where he is serving a three-year sentence in federal prison.
Wood told Gasparian he could be sentenced up to three years in prison, fined $250,000 and placed on three years probation. The government agreed, however, for him to get a lighter sentence for admitting his guilt and helping in the investigation, Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Rafferty said. The government also agrees that he may serve any sentence concurrently with the one he already is serving in New Mexico, Rafferty said.
Wood told Gasparian she would schedule his sentencing after federal probation officers complete a pre-sentencing investigation.