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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                                                          Jan. 30, 2012                   

MAN SENTENCED TO SIX YEARS IN PRISON FOR HEALTH CARE FRAUD CONSPIRACY

Fraud Plot Intended to Steal More Than $4 million from Medicare
Likely the Longest Sentence Ever Handed Down in a Health Care Fraud Case in West Virginia

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Sargis Tadevosyan, 42, an Armenian citizen, was sentenced today to a total of six years in prison by United States District Judge John T. Copenhaver, Jr. for conspiracy to commit health care fraud and aggravated identity theft.  The Court sentenced the defendant to four years in prison for conspiracy to commit health care fraud and wire fraud and a mandatory consecutive two-year prison sentence for aggravated identity theft.  After a four-day trial in November, Tadevosyan was found guilty of the two felony counts that were linked to a health care fraud scheme that intended to defraud more than $4 million from Medicare.

U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said, “Today’s sentence is likely the longest sentence ever handed down in a health care fraud case in West Virginia, and this case underscores my office’s commitment to protect our health care system by vigorously pursuing the criminals who attempt to steal from it.” 

Testimony brought forth at trial revealed that in the fall of 2010, co-conspirators Arsen Bedzhanyan, 23 and Igor Shevchuk, 22, were approached by an individual known 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 co-conspirators 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., and Mega Plus Solutions Corp., and Capitol Management Services Corp. 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.

Evidence at trial showed that on May 6, 2011, the defendant picked up co-conspirators Shevchuk and Bedzhanyan in New York City and drove them to West Virginia. Evidence also showed that the defendant provided Shevchuk and Bedzhanyan with false identification documents and also dropped his associates off near a United Bank in Dunbar, W.Va. 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 defendant and his co-conspirators in West Virginia.

Co-conspirators Shevchuk and Bedzhanyan previously pleaded guilty in September to aiding and abetting aggravated identity theft in connection to the health care fraud plot.  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 for their roles in the scheme.

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 prosecution. 

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.

Click here to listen to an audio clip from U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin discussing the significance of this health care fraud prosecution.

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