5 Individuals Arrested For Defrauding Medicare Of Over $15 Million Through Sham Hospices

Two Former Missouri Health Care Charity Executives Sentenced for Roles in Multimillion-Dollar Bribery and Embezzlement Scheme

Five individuals were arrested in Los Angeles for their alleged involvement in defrauding Medicare of over $15 million through sham hospice companies and subsequent money laundering activities.

The defendants, identified as Petros Fichidzhyan, Juan Carlos Esparza, Karpis Srapyan, Susanna Harutyunyan, and Mihran Panosyan, are accused of operating sham hospice companies purportedly owned by foreign nationals, but in reality owned by themselves.

They allegedly used false claims to Medicare for hospice services, misappropriating doctors’ identities and claiming services for patients who were not terminally ill or did not receive care from the sham hospices.

Furthermore, they falsely claimed that the same beneficiary received services from multiple sham hospices.

After fraudulently obtaining proceeds from Medicare, the defendants allegedly laundered the money by investing in real estate and vehicles, among other assets.

Fichidzhyan, Esparza, and Srapyan face charges of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and aggravated identity theft, while Fichidzhyan and Esparza are also charged with health care fraud.

All defendants are charged with conspiracy to launder money and money laundering. Fichidzhyan faces additional charges of making false statements.

If convicted, the defendants could face up to 40 years in prison, with Fichidzhyan, Esparza, and Srapyan potentially facing an additional mandatory minimum of two years for aggravated identity theft.

These arrests mark the latest efforts in the Justice Department’s ongoing campaign to combat hospice fraud in the greater Los Angeles area.

The case is being investigated by the FBI and the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), with prosecution led by Trial Attorneys Eric C. Schmale and Sarah E. Edwards of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.

Since its inception in March 2007, the Justice Department’s Health Care Fraud Strike Force Program, has charged over 5,400 defendants with collectively billing more than $27 billion to federal health care programs and private insurers.