Former Owner of Los Angeles Medical Equipment Supply Company Sentenced for Conspiring to Defraud Medicare
The owner and operator of a durable medical equipment (DME) supply company was sentenced today to serve 24 months in prison for conspiring to submit nearly $1 million in fraudulent claims to Medicare.
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; Special Agent in Charge Glenn R. Ferry of the Los Angeles Region of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG); and Assistant Director in Charge Bill L. Lewis of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office made the announcement.
Tigran Aklyan, 37, of Van Nuys, Calif., was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald in the Central District of California. In addition to his prison term, Aklyan was sentenced to serve three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $653,461 in restitution.
In April 2013, Aklyan pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud. In his plea agreement, Aklyan admitted that he was the owner and president of Las Tunas, a DME supply company located in San Gabriel, Calif. Aklyan admitted that from in or around October 2007 through in or around May 2009 he conspired with others to commit health care fraud by providing medically unnecessary power wheelchairs (PWCs) 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 PWCs and DME that he billed to Medicare. Aklyan knew 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 that it was illegal for him to pay for prescriptions, but he did so anyway.
From on or about Dec. 17, 2007, through on or about Feb. 20, 2009, Aklyan, through Las Tunas, submitted approximately $910,377 in fraudulent claims to Medicare for PWCs and related services, and Medicare paid Las Tunas approximately $653,461 on those claims.
The case was investigated by the FBI and the Los Angeles Region of 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. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant Chief Benton Curtis and Trial Attorneys David M. Maria and Blanca Quintero of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.
Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in nine cities across the country, has charged more than 1,500 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $5 billion. In addition, HHS’s Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.
The Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations are part of the Health Care Fraud Prevention & Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), a joint initiative announced in May 2009 between the Department of Justice and HHS to focus their efforts to prevent and deter fraud and enforce current anti-fraud laws around the country.
To learn more about the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), go to: www.stopmedicarefraud.gov.