Patient Recruiter and Physician Found Guilty in $33 Million Fraud Scheme

by Andrew Murray | June 12th, 2019

On June 7, 2019, the Department of Justice announced that a Los Angeles doctor and his co-defendant were found guilty of charges relating to a $33 million Medicare fraud scheme. Medicare patients did not receive the services and equipment that the program was billed for. The Press Release further states:

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Following a seven-day trial, Robert Glazer, M.D., 73, of Los Angeles, California, the owner and operator of the Glazer Clinic located in Los Angeles, California, was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and 12 counts of health care fraud.  Co-defendant Marina Merino, 62, of Los Angeles, California, a marketer who recruited patients in exchange for kickback payments, was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and eight counts of health care fraud.  Glazer and Merino are expected to be sentenced on Sept. 9, 2019, by U.S. District Judge Otis D. Wright II of the Central District of California, who presided over the trial.

Glazer and Merino were charged in a June 2015 superseding indictment, along with Angela Avetisyan, the officer manager of Glazer Clinic and co-owner of Fifth Avenue Home Health located in Los Angeles, California (Fifth Avenue), and Ashot Minasyan, co-owner of Fifth Avenue.

According to the evidence presented at trial, Merino and other marketers received payments from Avetisyan and Minasyan to recruit Medicare beneficiaries to the Glazer Clinic.   Thereafter, Glazer billed Medicare for office services and tests that patients did not need or did not receive.  Glazer also referred Medicare patients for a variety of services, including home health and hospice services, as well as ordered durable medical equipment that patients did not need or did not receive.  Based on referrals from Glazer, Avetisyan and Minasyan billed Medicare for home health services that were not rendered or were not medically necessary through their company, Fifth Avenue.  Avetisyan, who worked as an office manager at the Glazer Clinic, also sold Glazer’s referrals to other home health and durable medical equipment agencies.  Together, the defendants and their co-conspirators submitted and caused to be submitted claims of approximately $33 million, of which Medicare paid approximately $22 million, the evidence showed.

Avetisyan and Minasyan pleaded guilty in October 2018, and are awaiting sentencing.

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