Federal authorities sentenced a Los Angeles-area man to more than six years in prison after he used stolen physician identities to submit more than $18.9 million in fraudulent Medicare claims, according to a U.S. Justice Department news release.
Stolen doc identities at center of fraud case
Eduard Aslanyan, 38, of Sherman Oaks, Calif., paid physician assistants who worked at his fraudulent Los Angeles-area medical clinics to prescribe unnecessary power wheelchairs, medical equipment and diagnostic tests for Medicare patients, according to the release. The assistants used identities of doctors who did not supervise them or work at the clinics, and the doctors were unaware of the scheme, which started in March 2007 and ended in September 2008, according to the Justice Department.
Aslanyan was sentenced to 77 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Consuelo Marshall in the Central District of California. He was also ordered to pay $10.8 million in restitution and sentenced to an additional three years of supervised release. He pleaded guilty in April 2011.
The physicians were recruited as medical directors for the clinics by Aslanyan’s associate, Carolyn Vasquez, according to the release. The doctors were rarely on-site and did not perform any services at the clinics, while the physician assistants were complicit in the scheme, the Justice Department stated. Vasquez also has pleaded guilty for her role in the scheme. She was sentenced last month to 60 months in prison and ordered to pay $6.2 million in restitution to Medicare. Aslanyan is currently serving a three-year state sentence for assault, according to the release.
David Garrison, one of the physician assistants, was scheduled to start trial on Tuesday for his role.
The FBI investigated the case, which was brought before the Medicare Fraud Strike Force. Since 2007, the strike force has tracked down more than 1,160 defendants who have made more than $2.9 billion in fraudulent Medicare claims, the news release noted.
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