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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Texas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 21, 2016

Two Former Houston Medical Clinic Owners Convicted of Defrauding Medicare of $5.4 Million

HOUSTON – Two former owners of medical clinics in Houston have entered pleas of guilty to defrauding Medicare of $5.4 million, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson.

Zaven Pogosyan, 37, and Edvard Shakhbazyan, 40, were the former owners of medical clinics located at 2110 Jefferson, 2112 Pease and 6892 Southwest Freeway, Suite 2A, in Houston. They pleaded guilty yesterday to multiple counts related to the fraud scheme. Two others charged in the case - Seryan Mirzakhanyan, 31, and Frank Montgomery, 66, of Houston, previously entered pleas of guilty. 

Pogosyan and Shakhbazyan admitted they opened the three clinics with the intention to defraud Medicare. They admitted that the majority of the diagnostic tests allegedly done at the three clinics were either not done or not medically necessary and that  the medical equipment, patient files and doctors were all there only to make it appear legitimate. They further admitted hiring doctors for that purpose and that they paid marketers to bring patients to the fraudulent clinics.

There was allegedly only one doctor working at the three different medical clinics in Houston which Pogosyan managed. Pogosyan also admitted he hired two other doctors to travel to Houston once a month to review patient files at the clinic located on Pease Street.

Mirzakhanyan, Pogosyan and Shakhbazyan paid recruiters/marketers like Montgomery who brought the patients to the clinics.

U.S. District Judge Lynn N. Hughes has set sentencing for Pogosyan and Shakhbazyan on July 25, 2016. At that time, both men each face a maximum penalty of 10 years in a federal prison and a $250,000 fine for each of the 42 health care fraud convictions as well as the conspiracy. In addition, they face a maximum of five years for the conspiracy to pay and receive kickbacks.

Montgomery and Mirzakhanyan will be sentenced Oct. 11, 2016. 

The criminal charges are the result of a joint investigation conducted by agents of the FBI, Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services - Office of the Inspector General and the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the Texas Attorney General's Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) Al Balboni and Special AUSA Rodolfo Ramirez are prosecuting the case.

Topic: 
Healthcare Fraud
Updated April 21, 2016