BRUNSWICK, GA (WTOC) - A Savannah man is one of six indicted on federal charges in connection with a more than $4 million Medicare fraud scheme.
Several of the defendants were also charged with conspiring to launder the proceeds of their fraud and with stealing the identities of doctors and Medicare patients, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Georgia.
The prosecution is part of an international crime ring, and a nationwide investigation into more than $163 million in phony claims that were submitted to Medicare, according to the office of U.S. Attorney Edward J. Tarver.
Toni R. Lowery, 27, of Savannah; and Arthur Manasarian, 58; Gegham Sargsyan, 56; Khoren Gasparian, 27; Sahak Tumanyan, 43; Hamsik Tumanyan, 38, all of Armenia, were indicted.
The investigation was led by the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General, and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement. It focused on Armenian American organized crime enterprises and their coordinated efforts to defraud Medicare across the United States, according to a news release.
The probe culminated in arrests Wednesday of more than 35 defendants on federal racketeering, health care fraud and other charges filed in Brunswick, Ga., New York City, Los Angeles, Cleveland and Albuquerque.
The defendants, beginning in 2006, opened five sham medical clinics, in Brunswick, Savannah and Macon; stole the identities of both physicians and Medicare beneficiaries located throughout the U.S.; submitted more $4 million in false claims to Medicare for health care services that were never provided, according to the indictment unsealed Wednesday in the Southern District of Georgia.
Four of the defendants, Manasarian, Sargsyan, Sahak Tumanyan and Hasmik Tumanyan funneled the money made via the fraud through various shell companies owned and controlled by Sahak and Hasmik Tumanyan to hide the money made, the indictment alleges.
Manasarian and Sarsyan were charged with one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, several counts of health care fraud, one count of money laundering conspiracy and several counts of aggravated identity theft.
Gasparian was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud.
Sahak and Hasmik Tumanyan were each charged with one count of money laundering conspiracy.
Lowery was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud.