Directors of medical clinics charged with fraud for kickback scheme

Two managers and operators of three medical clinics with Medicare fraud and conspiracy to pay illegal kickbacks for medical procedures that were never actually provided.

Hovik Simitian, 47 and Anahit Shatvoryan, 49, were each charged in with one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, six counts of health care fraud and one count of conspiracy to pay health care kickbacks.

According to allegations in the indictment, Simitian and and Shatvoryan managed and operated three medical clinics-Columbia Medical Group Inc., Life Care Medical Clinic and Safe Health Medical Clinic-out of two suites in the same Los Angeles office building. From February 2010 through June 2014, Simitian and Shatvoryan paid marketers illegal kickbacks to recruit Medicare beneficiaries to the clinics. They then submitted false claims to Medicare for services-including procedures such as anorectal manometry and nerve conduction tests-that were not medically necessary and never actually provided.

From approximately February 2010 through June 2014, the clinics allegedly submitted a total of $4,526,791 in false and fraudulent claims to Medicare, and Medicare paid $1,668,559 on those claims.

The charges contained in an indictment are merely accusations, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in nine cities across the country, has charged nearly 2,000 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $6 billion. In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.

Jeffrey Newman represents whistleblowers