FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Nov. 3, 2011
FEDERAL JURY CONVICTS MAN ON CHARGES RELATED TO HEALTH CARE FRAUD SCHEME
Criminal Scheme Attempted to Defraud More Than $4 million from Medicare
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Sargis Tadevosyan, 42, an Armenian citizen, was convicted today by a federal jury in connection with a health care fraud scheme that intended to defraud millions of dollars from Medicare, announced U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin. After a four-day trial, Tadevosyan was found guilty of two felony counts: conspiracy to commit health care fraud and wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.
U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said, “Millions of our citizens rely on Medicare for life-saving medical care. This case illustrates the lengths to which criminals—from both inside and outside our country—will go to steal from Medicare. We will do everything within our power to keep that system safe and hold accountable those 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., Mega Plus Solutions 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, 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 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. Both defendants are scheduled to be sentenced on December 1, 2011.
“This investigation revealed that organized criminal groups are still brazenly attempting to steal taxpayer money from our national health insurance programs,” said Nicholas DiGiulio, Special Agent in Charge for the Inspector General’s Office of the United States Department of Health and Human Services. “Today’s results demonstrate that we will do whatever it takes to catch these individuals in the act before they receive a penny of taxpayers’ money.”
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 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.
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