Seventy-three defendants—including alleged members of an Armenian-American crime syndicate called Mirzoyan-Terdjanian—have been indicted for crimes involving more than $163 million in fraudulent billing of Medicare and insurance companies across the nation, the U.S. Department of Justice says.
The announcement came Wednesday after indictments were unsealed in California, Georgia, New Mexico, New York and Ohio. Law enforcement officials in the national, multi-agency investigation reported 52 arrests on Wednesday, in what the DOJ says is the largest prosecution of a Medicare fraud scheme committed by one criminal enterprise.
The defendants are charged with highly-organized, multi-million dollar schemes to defraud Medicare and insurance companies by submitting fraudulent bills for medically unnecessary treatments, or treatments that were never performed, DOJ alleges.
According to the indictments, the defendants allegedly stole the identities of doctors and thousands of Medicare beneficiaries and operated at least 118 different phony clinics in 25 states that submitted bogus Medicare reimbursement claims.
"The international organized crime enterprise known as the Mirzoyan-Terdjanian, fleeced the healthcare system through a wide-range of money making criminal fraud schemes," says Kevin Perkins, FBI assistant director of the Criminal Investigative Division.
"The members and associates located throughout the United States and in Armenia, perpetrated a large-scale, nationwide Medicare scam that fraudulently billed Medicare for more than $100 million of unnecessary medical treatments using a series of phantom clinics," Perkins said. "We want to restore the confidence in the nation?s healthcare system and assure practitioners we will not stand by and let their identities be used for criminal gain."