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Press Release

Glendale California Man Sentenced in Multimillion Dollar Health Insurance Fraud Scheme

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of North Dakota

FARGO - U. S. Attorney Timothy Q. Purdon announced that on Sept. 3, 2014, Hovakim David Mkhitarian, 31, Glendale, Calif., was sentenced before U. S. District Judge Ralph R. Erickson to serve seven months in prison and seven months electronic home monitoring for charges of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. Mkhitarian was also ordered to pay $2000 in restitution and a $100 special assessment to the Crime Victims Fund.

Mkhitarian pleaded guilty on Sept. 25, 2013 and was a mid-level participant involved in the day-to-day operation of a health care fraud scheme that submitted in excess of $13 million of fraudulent claims to Medicare and caused more than $3 million of losses to the program. The sophisticated scheme, which was based out of Los Angeles, recruited foreign students who were traveling in the United States on summer work visas. The students were driven around the United States to open up bank accounts and commercial mail boxes for dozens of phantom medical clinics. After the students returned home, conspirators submitted fictitious claims to Medicare using wrongfully-obtained physician billing numbers and thousands of Medicare numbers. Medicare deposited payments into accounts opened by the foreign students, who pre-signed checks so that conspirators could withdraw the deposited funds. Money from the scheme was laundered through check cashing businesses, real estate, and gold dealers.

Two co-conspirators also pleaded guilty today to charges of conspiracy to commit health care fraud; Tigran Yusufyan and Hovakim John Mkhitarian. Sentencing for Yusufyun will be held on Dec. 8, 2014, at 11:00 a.m. and sentencing for John Mkhitarian will be on Feb. 23, 2015 at 1:30 p.m. U. S. District Court. A fourth member of the conspiracy, Levon Gevorgyan is scheduled to be sentenced for his role in the offense on November 10, 2014 at 2:15 p.m.

This case was jointly investigated by the Office of Inspector General, Department of Health and Human Services, and the United States Diplomatic Security Service, Department of State.

Special Assistant United States Attorney Matthew Greenley prosecuted the case. His position is funded through a partnership between the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, and the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of North Dakota. In that position, Mr. Greenley prosecutes criminal cases relating to programs under the United States Department of Health and Human Services, including the Medicare program. Medicare contracts with Noridian Healthcare Solutions, LLC, in Fargo, North Dakota, to process and pay Medicare claims in addition to other healthcare administrative services.

Updated February 4, 2015