FEDS SAY RUSSIAN/ARMENIAN MOB'S FRAUD RING BUSTED.
Five members of a Russian-Armenian organized crime ring have been indicted in connection with a $20 million Medicare fraud conspiracy that operated out of clinics and labs in L.A., Glendale, Van Nuys and Pasadena, authorities said Monday.
They have been charged with conspiracy, health care fraud, Medicare kickbacks, making false statements to Medicare and money laundering.
``This case shows how criminal organizations seek to adapt over time to Medicare's fraud-prevention efforts,'' Assistant U.S. Attorney Bruce Searby said. ``Here, the defendants were able to outrun the government for a while, but they did not count on the perseverance of Medicare administrators and federal agents whose job it is to protect this important program.''
The group allegedly was led by Konstantin Grigoryan, 56, of Altadena, a former colonel in the Soviet army; his wife, Mayya Leonidovna Grigoryan, 54; the Grigoryans' son-in-law, Eduard Gershelis, 34, of Los Angeles; Mayya Grigoryan's brother-in-law, Aleksandr Treynker, 48, of Canoga Park; and Haroutyun Gulderyan, 36, of Tujunga.
The Grigoryans and Gershelis have been in federal custody since their March 21 arrests. Gulderyan and Treynker have been released on bond. The five suspects are scheduled to appear in court June 13. They were indicted Thursday.
In court documents, Searby wrote that the case is connected to Russian- Armenian organized crime that gutted Medicare of more than $20 million using a network of clinics, paid kickbacks to marketers for patient referrals and billed Medicare for tests that were unnecessary or went undelivered.
Gershelis' parents were doctors in Ukraine, and he studied to be a dental technician in Russia, said his attorney, Jerome Mooney.
Gershelis and his wife immigrated to the United States in 1994, where they became naturalized citizens and had a daughter.
``Mr. Gershelis and his wife are hard-working people who established their roots in Los Angeles and learned the language,'' Mooney said. ``This is a very unfortunate circumstance.''
Attorneys for the other defendants did not return phone calls seeking comment.
Court records provide the following details about the case:
Between 1997 and 2005, the group hired doctors to work at their clinics so they could legitimately enroll in the Medicare program. They then hired recruiters to fan out across the state and pay patients with Medicare benefits to come to the clinics and submit to unnecessary medical procedures.
The suspects allegedly concealed the source of their incomes by funneling the money through a maze of ``management'' and ``consulting'' firms, wiring the money to Armenian and Swiss bank accounts, and buying residential and commercial real estate.
The case grew out of excerpts from a recording made by a cooperating witness in an FBI investigation in 2000 and 2001.
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|Publication:||Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)|
|Date:||Apr 25, 2006|
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