A former owner of a Los Angeles-area medical equipment supply company pleaded guilty today to conspiring with others to defraud Medicare, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney André Birotte Jr. of the Central District of California; Glenn R. Ferry, Special Agent in Charge for the Los Angeles Region of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG); and Bill L. Lewis, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office.
Tigran Aklyan, 37, of Van Nuys, Calif., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald in the Central District of California to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud.
According to court documents, Aklyan was the owner and president of Las Tunas Medical Equipment Inc., a durable medical equipment (DME) supply company located in San Gabriel, Calif. Aklyan admitted that from approximately October 2007 through May 2009, he conspired with others to commit health care fraud through the operation of Las Tunas by providing medically unnecessary power wheelchairs and other DME to Medicare beneficiaries and submitting false and fraudulent claims to Medicare. Aklyan admitted that he paid the owners and operators of fraudulent medical clinics to provide him with prescriptions and supporting medical documentation for the power wheelchairs and DME that he billed to Medicare. Aklyan admitted knowing that the prescriptions and medical documents that the clinics produced were fraudulent, yet he certified to Medicare with the submission of each claim that the DME was medically necessary. Aklyan also admitted that he knew it was illegal for him to pay for prescriptions, but he did so anyway.
From approximately Dec. 17, 2007, through Feb. 20, 2009, Aklyan, through Las Tunas, submitted approximately $910,377 in fraudulent claims to Medicare for power wheelchairs and related services, and Medicare paid Las Tunas approximately $653,461 on those claims.
At sentencing, scheduled for Aug. 5, 2013, Aklyan faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys David M. Maria and Blanca Quintero of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section. The case was investigated by the FBI and HHS-OIG, and was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, supervised by the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.
Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in nine cities across the country, has charged more than 1,480 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $4.8 billion. In addition, HHS’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers. To learn more about the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), go to: www.stopmedicarefraud.gov.