Thursday, February 9, 2012

Los Angeles Clinic Owner/Manager Sentenced to 77 Months in Prison for Medicare Fraud With $18.9 In Alleged Losses

The sentences in health care fraud cases continue to be lengthy. On February 6, 2012,  a Los Angeles clinic owner/manager Eduard Aslanyan, 38, of Sherman Oaks, Calif., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Consuelo B. Marshall in the Central District of California to 77 months in prison for establishing and running medical clinics which billed Medicare and in some cases used the stolen identities of physicians. The alleged billed amount was more than $18.9 million. Mr. Aslanyan was sentenced to three years of supervised release and was ordered to pay $10.8 million in restitution.
This sentence was after Mr. Aslanyan pleaded guilty in April 2011. If he had gone to trial and lost, he faced a lengthier sentence. He admitted that between March 2007 and September 2008, he established a series of fraudulent medical clinics in and around Los Angeles to defraud Medicare. His co-defendant, Carolyn Vasquez, who previously pleaded guilty to conspiring with Aslanyan to defraud Medicare, recruited physicians to serve as the medical directors of Mr. Aslanyan’s medical clinics. The physicians did not perform services at the clinics and were rarely present at the clinics. Physician assistants were hired by Mr. Aslanyan and Ms. Vasquez and were allegedly complicit in the fraud scheme at the clinics.
According to court documents, Mr. Aslanyan hired patient recruiters to find Medicare beneficiaries who were willing to provide the recruiters with their Medicare billing information in exchange for expensive, high-end power wheelchairs and other medical equipment which the patient recruiters told the beneficiaries they could receive for free. Often, the Medicare beneficiaries did not have a legitimate medical need for the power wheelchairs and equipment. 
The patient recruiters then provided the beneficiaries’ Medicare billing information to Mr. Aslanyan or brought the beneficiaries to Mr. Aslanyan’s clinics. Mr. Aslanyan paid the patient recruiters cash kickbacks in exchange for recruiting the Medicare beneficiaries.
In court documents, Mr. Aslanyan admitted that he and Ms. Vasquez instructed and paid physician assistants who worked at his clinics to prescribe medically unnecessary power wheelchairs, medical equipment and diagnostic tests for the Medicare beneficiaries. The physician assistants allegedly used stolen identities of physicians who did not supervise them or work at the clinics.
According to court documents, Mr. Aslanyan profited from the scheme at his fraudulent medical clinics in several ways. First, Mr. Aslanyan admitted that he allowed fraudulent diagnostic testing facilities to use the Medicare billing information he purchased from patient recruiters to submit false claims to Medicare for tests ordered at the clinics. In exchange, the fraudulent diagnostic testing facilities paid Mr. Aslanyan cash kickbacks that were disguised as rent payments to Mr. Aslanyan.
Second, Mr. Aslanyan also profited from the scheme by selling fraudulent prescriptions and documents generated at his clinics to the owners and operators of fraudulent durable medical equipment (DME) supply companies, which used the prescriptions and documents to submit false claims to Medicare. Mr. Aslanyan also used the fraudulent prescriptions and documents to submit false claims to Medicare through his own fraudulent DME supply companies, Vila Medical Supply Inc. and Blanc Medical Supplies.
Mr. Aslanyan received 70 months, a higher sentence than his co-defendant, since he has a criminal history and he had a higher restitution amount. Currently, Mr. Aslanyan is serving a three-year state sentence for assault. 
On Jan. 9, 2012, Judge Marshall sentenced his co-defendant Ms. Vasquez to 60 months in prison for her role in the fraud scheme and ordered her to pay more than $6.2 million in restitution to Medicare. 
A third co-defendant, David James Garrison, a physician assistant who worked at the fraudulent medical clinics with Ms. Vasquez and Mr. Aslanyan, is scheduled for trial on Feb. 7, 2012. Defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty at trial. Mr. Garrison has a prior health care fraud conviction which could be complicating the case for him.  
Any questions or comments  should be directed to Tracy Green, a very experienced California health care fraud attorney  and California Medicare fraud attorney at

The firm focuses its practice on the representation of licensed professionals, individuals and businesses in civil, business, administrative and criminal proceedings. They have a specialty in representing licensed health care providers and in health care fraud related matters in California and throughout the country. Their website is:


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