Home Health Agency Owners to Serve Prison Time for Medicare Fraud Scheme

by Andrew Murray | June 12th, 2019

On June 11, 2019, the Department of Justice announced that two owners of a home health agency in Los Angeles received sentences for their participation in a Medicare fraud scheme. The Press Release states:

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Angela Avetisyan, 43, of Glendale, California, was sentenced to 120 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Otis D. Wright II of the Central District of California, who also ordered Avetisyan to pay $4,283,674 in restitution and to forfeit all right, title, and interest in $172,000 seized by the government in May 2014, as well as six real properties purchased with fraud proceeds.  The Court ordered Avetisyan to make an immediate partial restitution payment of $10,000.

Ashot Minasyan, 61, of North Hollywood, California, was sentenced to 78 months in prison by Judge Wright, who also ordered Minasyan to pay $4,283,674 in restitution and to forfeit all right, title, and interest in the same $172,000 and six real properties.  The Court ordered Minasyan to make an immediate partial restitution payment of $100,000.

Avetisyan and Minasyan were charged along with Robert Glazer, 73, and Marina Merino, 62, both of Los Angeles, in a second superseding indictment returned in June 2015.  On June 7, 2019, co-defendants Glazer and Merino were found guilty after a seven day trial of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and health care fraud.

Avetisyan and Minasyan each pleaded guilty on Oct. 9, 2018, to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud.  As part of their guilty pleas, Avetisyan and Minasyan admitted that as co-owners and operators of Fifth Avenue Home Health (Fifth Avenue), a home health agency located in Los Angeles, they engaged in a conspiracy with Glazer, Merino and others to recruit Medicare patients to Glazer’s clinic so that Glazer could use those patients’ information to bill for medically unnecessary outpatient clinic services and refer those patients for medically unnecessary home health services from Fifth Avenue and other home health agencies.  Avetisyan and Minasyan further admitted that they paid Merino and other patient recruiters illegal kickbacks to bring Medicare patients to the Glazer clinic.

As found at sentencing by the Court, Avetisyan and Minasyan, along with their co-conspirators, submitted and caused to be submitted false and fraudulent claims for home health services that were medically unnecessary, for services that were not provided and for claims obtained by the payment of illegal kickbacks.

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