Crime - Sacto 911

‘Life coach’ headed to prison for role in Sacramento-area health care fraud

A self-described life coach has been sentenced to spend 27 months of his life in prison for his role in a Sacramento-area health care fraud scheme.

Migran Petrosyan, 43, of Burbank, pleaded guilty in March to conspiring to commit health care fraud. He was sentenced today in federal court in Sacramento by Chief U.S. District Judge Morrison C. England Jr., who also ordered Petrosyan to pay $370,607 in restitution, according to a federal Department of Justice news release.

According to testimony presented at the trial of Petrosyan’s co-defendants – doctors Ramanathan Prakash, Alexander Popov and Lana LeChabrier – Vardges Egiazarian owned and controlled three health care clinics in Sacramento, Carmichael and Richmond from February 2006 through August 2008. Petrosyan recruited doctors to submit applications to Medicare for billing numbers for purposes of billing out of those clinics. Petrosyan primarily managed the Richmond clinic, authorities said.

Authentic-looking clinics, staffed largely by unlicensed people, were established in Sacramento, Carmichael and Richmond. The doctors never treated patients in the clinics, as all of them lived hundreds of miles away, in the Los Angeles and Santa Barbara areas. Only Prakash ever visited any of the clinics, and then only on two occasions when patients were not there.

The doctors established the Medicare provider number for the clinics and established bank accounts for the clinics, into which Medicare funds were deposited and used by the conspirators, authorities said.

Clinic patients, most of whom were elderly and didn’t speak English, were recruited and transported to the clinics by individuals who were paid according to the number of patients they brought to the facilities. Instead of being charged a co-payment, the patients typically were paid $100 per visit for their time and use of their Medicare eligibility, according to evidence presented at trial.

False patient files were created and those files were then transported to Southern California where the doctors signed them, indicating they provided or approved the treatment. Another co-defendant then billed Medicare for dozens of procedures, authorities said. In all, the three clinics submitted more than $5 million worth of fraudulent claims to Medicare, $1.7 million of which was paid.

A jury in July 2011 found Prakash, Popov and LeChabrier, the only defendants to go to trial, guilty of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and various counts of health care fraud. All three are currently serving prison sentences. Egiazarian pleaded guilty early in the case and has served his 6 1/2-year sentence.