FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Dec. 1, 2011
TWO MEN SENTENCED TO PRISON ON CHARGES RELATED TO ATTEMPTED HEALTH CARE FRAUD SCHEME
Multi-million Dollar Medicare Fraud Scheme Attempt Halted by Investigators Earlier This Year
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Two men were sentenced today in federal court for their roles in connection to a health care fraud scheme that intended to defraud millions of dollars from Medicare, announced U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin. Arsen Bedzhanyan, 23 and Igor Shevchuk, 22, both Russian citizens, were each sentenced to 18 months in prison followed by one year of supervised release by United States District Judge John T. Copenhaver, Jr. for aiding and abetting aggravated identity theft. Shevchuk and Bedzhanyan previously pleaded guilty in September.
The co-conspirators admitted that in the fall of 2010, they were approached by an individual known to them as “Garik” and asked to open up bank accounts using names and false identification documents that he would provide and told them that the names belonged to real people who had left the United States. The pair also admitted that they agreed to participate in the scheme in exchange for $5,000 each from “Garik.” To further the scheme, "Garik" gave each of the co-conspirators identification documents, which included fake driver's licenses with the names of other individuals. Bedzhanyan and Shevchuk admitted to using the false identification documents to open bank accounts in the names of several false front providers at banks located in and around Charleston.
In April 2011, agents with the Department of Health and Human Resources Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) began investigating fraud schemes involving false front providers, whereby a company posed as a Medicare health care provider, and unlawfully billed Medicare as if they were providing legitimate services. After following numerous leads, investigators discovered that false front provider companies: ASC Solutions, Attens Reliable, Inc., KB Support Group, Inc., Powersource Support, Inc., Mega Plus Solutions Corp. and Capital United Support, were set up to advance the health care fraud scheme in and around Charleston, West Virginia. In total, more than $4 million in Medicare claims were submitted by the false front providers.
After a four-day trial in November, co-conspirator Sargis Tadevosyan, 43, was found guilty by a jury of felony conspiracy to commit health care fraud, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.
Evidence at trial showed that on May 6, 2011, Shevchuk and Bedzhanyan were picked up by Tadevosyan in New York City and brought to West Virginia. Trial evidence showed that Tadevosyan provided Shevchuk and Bedzhanyan with false identification documents and also dropped the co-conspirators off near a United Bank in Dunbar, West Virginia. At the time of the scheme, Shevchuk also used a false driver's license in the name of Klim Baykov, the purported owner of KB Support Group, Inc. and signed documents which enabled him to make changes to the company’s bank account.
Federal agents subsequently arrested the co-conspirators in West Virginia.
Tadevosyan faces up to 20 years in prison for the conspiracy conviction and a mandatory consecutive sentence of two years for aggravated identity theft and a $250,000 fine when he is sentenced on January 26, 2012.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, the United States Secret Service and the West Virginia State Police. Assistant United States Attorneys Meredith George and Hunter Smith handled the sentencings.
This case was brought as a part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force. Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations are part of the Health Care Fraud Prevention & Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), a joint initiative between the Department of Justice and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) designed to prevent and deter fraud and enforce current anti-fraud laws around the country.
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