Former Employee of Southern California Ambulance Company Sentenced to Prison for Role in Medicare Fraud Scheme
A former employee of a Southern California ambulance company was sentenced today to 36 months in prison for his role in a scheme that resulted in more than $1.1 million in fraudulent claims to Medicare.
Acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Nicola T. Hanna of the Central District of California, Special Agent in Charge Christian J. Schrank of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General’s (HHS-OIG) Los Angeles Region, and Assistant Director in Charge Paul D. Delacourt of the FBI’s Los Angeles Division made the announcement.
Aharon Aron Krkasharyan, 54, of Los Angeles, California, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge George H. Wu of the Central District of California, who also ordered Krkasharyan to pay $484,556 in restitution to Medicare, jointly and severally with his co-conspirators, who await sentencing. On Nov. 27, 2017, Krkasharyan pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud.
Krkasharyan was employed as the Quality Improvement Coordinator for Mauran Ambulance Inc. (Mauran) of San Fernando, California, an ambulance transportation company operating in the greater Los Angeles area that provided non-emergency services to Medicare beneficiaries, many of whom were dialysis patients. As part of his plea, Krkasharyan admitted that between June 2011 and April 2012, he conspired with other Mauran employees to submit claims to Medicare for ambulance transportation services for individuals who did not need such services. Krkasharyan also admitted that he and his co-conspirators instructed Mauran emergency medical technicians to conceal the patients’ true medical conditions by altering paperwork and creating fraudulent reasons to justify the ambulance services.
Krkasharyan was charged along with Toros Onik Yeranosian, 55, the former owner of Mauran; Oxana Loutseiko, 57, the former general manager of Mauran; and Maria Espinoza, 47, a former employee of a Los Angeles dialysis treatment center. Yeranosian, Loutseiko and Espinoza each pleaded guilty and are pending sentencing. The former dispatch supervisor at Mauran, Christian Hernandez, 37, who was previously charged in the case, has also pleaded guilty and awaits sentencing.
According to court documents, during the course of the conspiracy, Mauran submitted over $28 million in claims to Medicare. Krkasharyan’s co-defendants admitted that at least $6.6 million of those claims were false and fraudulent claims for medically unnecessary transportation services. Medicare paid at least $3.1 million on those false and fraudulent claims.
The case 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. The case was investigated by the FBI and HHS-OIG. Trial Attorneys Alexis D. Gregorian and Jeremy R. Sanders of the Fraud Section prosecuted the case.
The Fraud Section leads the Medicare Fraud Strike Force. Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in nine cities across the country, has charged nearly 3,500 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $12.5 billion. In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.