Sacto 9-1-1
November 7, 2013
Woman sentenced for role in Sacramento-area healthcare scam

A Glendale woman has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for her role in a Sacramento-area healthcare fraud.

Shushanik Martirosyan, 47, was sentenced today by Chief U.S. District Judge Morrison C. England Jr. for conspiring to commit healthcare fraud, according to a federal Department of Justice news release. She pleaded guilty on March 31, 2011, and testified in the May 2011 trial of three doctors involved in the scam. Judge England also ordered Martirosyan to pay $1,558,620 in restitution.

According to testimony presented at the trial of Martirosyan's codefendants, Doctors Ramanathan Prakash, Alexander Popov and Lana Le Chabrier, and Vardges Egiazarian owned and controlled three healthcare clinics in Sacramento, Richmond and Carmichael from February 2006 through August 2008. Egiazarian and others recruited doctors to submit applications to Medicare for billing numbers.

Authentic-looking clinics staffed largely by unlicensed people were established in the three communities. The doctors, who lived in the Los Angeles and Santa Barbara areas, never treated patients at the three clinics. Only Prakash ever visit any of the clinics, and then only on two occasions when patients were not present, authorities said.

The doctors established the Medicare provider numbers and bank accounts for the clinics into which Medicare funds were deposited and used by the conspirators, authorities said.

According to evidence at trial, clinic patients, most of whom were elderly and did not speak English, were recruited and transported to the clinics by individuals who were paid according to the number of patients they brought to the facilities.

Instead of being charged a co-payment, the patients were paid $100 per visit. False charts were created, stating that each patient received comprehensive exams and an array of diagnostic tests. But authorities said few of these tests were performed, none were performed based on any medical need, and clinic employees filled out other portions of the charts using preprinted templates. Some clinic employees admitted performing various tests on themselves and placing the results in patient files.

Patient files were then transported to Southern California, where the doctors signed them, indicating they provided or approved the treatments. Matirosyan then billed Medicare for dozens of procedures per patient, often for for procedures that were highly unusual compared with other Medicare providers. In all, authorities said, the three clinics submitted more than $5 million worth of fraudulent claims to Medicare, $1.7 million of which were paid.

Among others charged in the case:

• Ramanathan Prakash, a doctor involved in the Sacramento clinic, is serving 10 years in prison.

• Lana Le Chabrier, a doctor involved in the Richmond clinic, was sentenced to six-and-a-half years in prison after a jury found her guilty in July 2011.

• Vardges Egiazarian pleaded guilty early in the case and was sentenced six-and-a-half years in prison.

• Alexander Popov, a doctor involved with the Sacramento clinic, is serving eight years and one month in prison.

• Derrick Johnson, a doctor involved with the Richmond clinic, pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing.

• Nazaret Salmanyan, an unlicensed ultrasound technician who worked at all three clinics, pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing.

• Zoya Belov, a nurse licensed in Russia but not in the United States and who worked at all three clinics, pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing.

• Migran Petrosyan, one of the clinic owners, pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing.

• Liw Jiaw Saechao, aka Jenny Saechao, who recruited patients, pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing.

• Emilio Cruz, a doctor involved with the Carmichael clinic, pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing.

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