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Patient Recruiter Found Guilty in $1.3 Million Medicare Kickback Scheme


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Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Patient Recruiter Found Guilty in $1.3 Million Medicare Kickback Scheme

A federal jury in Detroit, Michigan found a patient recruiter guilty today for his role in a scheme involving approximately $1.3 million in fraudulent Medicare claims for home health care that were procured through the payment of kickbacks. 

Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider of the Eastern District of Michigan, Special Agent in Charge Timothy Slater of the FBI’s Detroit Division and Special Agent in Charge Lamont Pugh III of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General’s (HHS-OIG) Chicago Regional Office made the announcement.

Following a six-day trial, Dominic Trumbo, 45, of Lexington, Kentucky, was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to pay and receive health care kickbacks and three counts of receipt of health care kickbacks.  Sentencing has been scheduled for Dec. 3, 2019 before Chief U.S. District Judge Denise Page Hood of the Eastern District of Michigan, who presided over the trial.

According to evidence presented at trial, from 2009 to 2017, Trumbo, owner of Trumbo Consulting Agency, engaged in an illegal kickback scheme to defraud Medicare of approximately $1.3 million through fraudulent home health claims.  The evidence showed that Trumbo solicited and received kickbacks in exchange for referring Medicare beneficiaries to serve as patients at multiple home health agencies.  These home health agencies then submitted claims to Medicare for home health services that were purportedly provided to those beneficiaries.

The FBI and HHS-OIG investigated the case.  Trial Attorneys Patrick Suter and Steven Scott of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section are prosecuting the case.

The Fraud Section leads the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, which is part of a joint initiative between the Department of Justice and HHS to focus their efforts to prevent and deter fraud and enforce current anti-fraud laws around the country.  Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, which maintains 14 strike forces operating in 23 districts, has charged nearly 4,000 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $14 billion.

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, June 7, 2019

Los Angeles Doctor and Patient Recruiter Found Guilty in $33 Million Medicare Fraud Scheme

A federal jury found a Los Angeles doctor and patient recruiter guilty today for their roles in a $33 million Medicare fraud scheme in which Medicare was billed for clinic, home health, hospice services and durable medical equipment that patients did not need or did not receive.

Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Nicola T. Hanna of the Central District of California, Assistant Director in Charge Paul D. Delacourt of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office and Special Agent in Charge Christian J. Schrank of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General’s (HHS-OIG) Los Angeles Regional Office and Acting Special Agent in Charge Ryan L. Korner of the IRS Criminal Investigations of the Los Angeles Field Office made the announcement.

Following a seven-day trial, Robert Glazer, M.D., 73, of Los Angeles, California, the owner and operator of the Glazer Clinic located in Los Angeles, California, was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and 12 counts of health care fraud.  Co-defendant Marina Merino, 62, of Los Angeles, California, a marketer who recruited patients in exchange for kickback payments, was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and eight counts of health care fraud.  Glazer and Merino are expected to be sentenced on Sept. 9, 2019, by U.S. District Judge Otis D. Wright II of the Central District of California, who presided over the trial.



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Glazer and Merino were charged in a June 2015 superseding indictment, along with Angela Avetisyan, the officer manager of Glazer Clinic and co-owner of Fifth Avenue Home Health located in Los Angeles, California (Fifth Avenue), and Ashot Minasyan, co-owner of Fifth Avenue.

According to the evidence presented at trial, Merino and other marketers received payments from Avetisyan and Minasyan to recruit Medicare beneficiaries to the Glazer Clinic.   Thereafter, Glazer billed Medicare for office services and tests that patients did not need or did not receive.  Glazer also referred Medicare patients for a variety of services, including home health and hospice services, as well as ordered durable medical equipment that patients did not need or did not receive.  Based on referrals from Glazer, Avetisyan and Minasyan billed Medicare for home health services that were not rendered or were not medically necessary through their company, Fifth Avenue.  Avetisyan, who worked as an office manager at the Glazer Clinic, also sold Glazer’s referrals to other home health and durable medical equipment agencies.  Together, the defendants and their co-conspirators submitted and caused to be submitted claims of approximately $33 million, of which Medicare paid approximately $22 million, the evidence showed. 

Avetisyan and Minasyan pleaded guilty in October 2018, and are awaiting sentencing.

The case was investigated by the FBI, HHS-OIG, the IRS, and was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, under the supervision of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.  The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Claire Yan, Robyn Pullio, and Emily Culbertson of the Fraud Section.

The Fraud Section leads the Medicare Fraud Strike Force.  Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, which maintains 14 strike forces operating in 23 districts, has charged nearly 4,000 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $14 billion.  In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.



Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, February 22, 2019

Texas Doctor and Hospital Owner Convicted in Multimillion Dollar Health Care Fraud Scheme

A federal jury found an internal medicine doctor and hospital owner guilty today for their roles in a multimillion health care fraud scheme, announced Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick of the Southern District of Texas.

Following a two-week trial, Harcharan Narang, 50, of Houston, Texas, and Dayakar Moparty, 47, of Houston, Texas,were found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, 17 counts of health care fraud and three counts of money laundering.  Sentencing is set for June 20, before U.S. District Judge Sim Lake of the Southern District of Texas, who presided over the trial.


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Narang is a physician who owned and practiced at North Cypress Clinical Associates in Cypress, Texas.  Moparty managed and operated Red Oak Hospital (Red Oak) in Houston, Texas.  During the trial, evidence was admitted showing that Narang and Moparty unlawfully enriched themselves by submitting false and fraudulent claims for medical tests that were not medically necessary and/or not provided and then billed at Red Oak Hospital at a higher reimbursement rate.

Additionally, Narang and his co-conspirators falsified home health patient assessment forms to make the beneficiaries appear sicker on paper than they actually were, to receive higher reimbursement rates from health care benefit programs such as Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna and Aetna, the evidence showed.  Moparty also instructed his employees to falsely bill the medical services at Red Oak and other entities associated with Moparty, when in fact the patients never received services at Red Oak and the other entities.



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At trial, patients testified that they had merely bought a Groupon for weight loss shots, but after meeting with Narang, they all received the same battery of medical tests that were not needed or provided.  According to the trial evidence, health care benefit programs paid Red Oak approximately at least $3.2 million, and Moparty then covertly paid Narang approximately $3 million dollars to various corporate entities owned by Narang.

Narang and Moparty’s co-conspirator, Gurnaib Sidhu, M.D., 67, of Houston, previously pleaded to conspiracy to commit health care fraud and is awaiting sentencing.    


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The investigation was conducted by the FBI and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management Office of Inspector General.  Trial Attorney Drew Pennebaker of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section  and Assistant U.S. Attorney Tina Ansari of the Southern District of Texas are prosecuting the case.

The Fraud Section leads the Medicare Fraud Strike Force.  Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, which maintains 14 strike forces operating in 23 districts, has charged nearly 4,000 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $14 billion.












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