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Armenian gets 6-year sentence in Medicare fraud

PanARMENIAN.Net - An Armenian man will spend six years in federal prison for his part in a Charleston-based Medicare fraud scheme that threatened to cost the government more than $4 million in false health-care claims.

According to The Charleston Gazette, U.S. District Judge John T. Copenhaver sentenced Sargis Tadevosyan, 42, to six years in prison on counts of aggravated identity theft and conspiracy to commit health-care fraud.

During a weeklong trial in November, prosecutors said Tadevosyan supplied two Russian immigrants with fake identification documents and drove them from New York to Charleston to make a change to a bank account affiliated with one of six fake health-care clinics around town.

A man authorities know only as "Garik" is suspected of setting up the fake clinics and lodging hundreds of false Medicare claims. A health-care provider flagged the claims and brought them to the attention of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services investigators before they were processed.

Garik gave Tadevosyan a set of keys so he could collect mail from each of the fake offices while he was in Charleston, prosecutors said.

Just before sentencing, Tadevosyan, with the help of an interpreter, told Copenhaver that his wife was diagnosed with cancer a day earlier. Tadevosyan's lawyers also asked the judge to consider that Tadevosyan was roped into the fraud scheme after “escaping from Armenia, which was submerged in ethnic strife.”

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