Two Doctors and Four Others Arrested in $12 Million Health Care Fraud Conspiracy
HOUSTON – Six Houstonians are in custody on wide-ranging charges involving a $12 million conspiracy to commit health care fraud and to pay kickbacks, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson. The arrests were made in conjunction with a search warrant executed at a downtown office building where several clinics and a blood testing laboratory were located.
The 25-count indictment was returned July 1, 2015, and unsealed today. Those charged and arrested today include the owner and operator of the clinics and lab - Mktrich “Mike” Yepremian, 58, Dr. Harding Ross, 61, Dr. Faiz Ahmed, 63, Michael Wayne Wilson, 46, and Eric Johnson, 61, all of Houston. A sixth defendant - Jermaine Doleman, 38, also of Houston, was already in custody in another health care fraud scheme charged in this district over allegedly similar conduct.
They are expected to make their initial appearances before U.S. Magistrate Judge Frances Stacy at 2:00 p.m. today.
The indictment alleges Yepremian paid Doleman, Wilson and Johnson to bring Medicare and Medicaid patients to his clinics in order for him to bill for multiple, medically unnecessary diagnostic and blood tests. In turn, Doleman, Wilson and Johnson would then allegedly pay the patients to attend the clinics.
According to the indictment, the scheme began in 2006. The indictment alleges Yepremian controlled all funds from the false billing, but the clinics were allegedly held in the names of “straw owners.” The clinics involved included Crawford Medical Services, Mid City Healthcare and Care Family Practice all in Houston; Arca Medical Clinic formerly in Conroe and now in Houston, as well as a lab called Empire Clinical Laboratory in Houston.
Yepremian is also charged with money laundering for allegedly funneling money to relatives.
The statutory maximum penalty upon conviction of either the conspiracy, money laundering or any of the substantive counts of health care fraud is up to 10 years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine. If convicted of a violation of the anti-kickback statute, Yepremian, Wilson and Johnson also face up to five years imprisonment as well as a possible $250,000 maximum fine.
The charges are the result of the investigative efforts of the Texas Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and the FBI. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Suzanne Bradley and Assistant U.S. Attorney Tina Ansari are prosecuting the case.