Armenian National Sentenced To 12 Years In Prison For Stealing Millions From Medicare
BRUNSWICK, GA – ARTHUR MANASARIAN, 49, an Armenian national and previous resident of California, was sentenced today by Chief United States District Court Judge Lisa Godbey Wood to 144 months in prison for his role in a conspiracy to defraud Medicare of approximately $7.5 million through phony medical businesses in Brunswick and Savannah, as well as in Los Angeles, California and Albuquerque, New Mexico.
MANASARIAN, who immigrated to the United States from Armenia and who resided in Los Angeles until the time of his arrest, previously pleaded guilty before Chief United States District Court Judge Lisa Godbey Wood to conspiracy to commit health care fraud and aggravated identity theft.
According to the evidence presented at the guilty plea and sentencing hearings:
From 2007 through 2008, MANASARIAN and others opened a medical equipment company in Brunswick, Georgia, known as Brunswick Medical Supply. Once opened, MANASARIAN and others stole the identities of hundreds of Medicare beneficiaries; stole the identities of dozens of doctors; and, used this stolen information to submit millions of dollars in phony claims to Medicare for health care services that were never provided. MANASARIAN used the stolen identities of doctors and patients from multiple different states, including Alaska, California, New York, and Ohio, and even submitted claims for people that were dead at the time they were alleged to have been provided medical equipment. MANASARIAN was also involved with at least seven other phony health care businesses located in Georgia, California and New Mexico. He was responsible for between $7 and $20 million worth of fraudulent claims submitted to Medicare. MANASARIAN and others were paid by Medicare approximately $1.5 million for the fraudulent claims.
The prosecution of MANASARIAN in the Southern District of Georgia is part of a multi-jurisdictional investigation led by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, involving more than $200 million worth of phony claims submitted to Medicare. More than 35 defendants were arrested earlier as part of this investigation; in addition to the Southern District of Georgia, numerous charges were filed in New York, Los Angeles, Cleveland and Albuquerque.
United States Attorney Edward J. Tarver said, “Arthur Manasarian and his cohorts preyed upon our most vulnerable citizens in order to steal millions of taxpayer dollars from Medicare. The stern sentence imposed upon him should serve as a powerful warning to others intent on stealing from taxpayers: this Office, and our law enforcement partners, will investigate and prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law.”
“Today's sentencing sends a loud and clear message to criminal enterprises throughout the country that they should think twice before entering the world of health care fraud,” said Derrick L. Jackson, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General for the Atlanta region. “If you commit Medicare fraud you will be caught and you will go to prison. The Office of the Inspector General is dedicated to protecting both the Medicare Trust Fund and the identities of those it serves.”
Brian D. Lamkin, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation Atlanta Field Office, stated: “The FBI has committed many investigative resources to its healthcare fraud programs, to include Medicare fraud, because of individuals such as Mr. Manasarian. The unbridled greed of the defendant showed a complete lack of regard for others who could have benefitted from this very important program and also showed a complete lack of regard for the taxpayers in general who fund this program. The FBI will continue to work with its varied law enforcement partners in identifying, investigating, and bringing forward for prosecution such individuals as Mr. Manasarian who attempt to steal from this valued federally funded program.”
The investigation in the Southern District of Georgia was the result of a multi-agency team of federal, state and local agents, led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General (HHS/OIG), and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), working together to combat health care fraud. Assistant United States Attorney Brian T. Rafferty prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States. For additional information, please contact First Assistant United States Attorney James D. Durham at (912) 201-2547.