The owner of a Los Angeles medical supply company has been found guilty on four counts of health care fraud in charges brought by the U.S. Department of Justice. The fraud was part of a $3.3 million scheme which involved the company and MediCare.
The announcement of the conviction returned by a federal jury in Los Angeles was made by several government officials including Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Acting U.S. Attorney Stephanie Yonekura of the Central District of California, Special Agent in Charge Glenn R. Ferry of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General’s (HHS-OIG) Los Angeles Region and Assistant Director in Charge David L. Bowdich of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office.
The owner of the medical supply company know as Colonial Medical Supply – Hakop Gambaryan – was convicted on the four counts due to cash payments made known as ‘kickbacks’ between March 2006 and December 2012. The payments were made to medical clinics in return for fraudulent prescription for medical equipment such as power wheelchairs which were not medically necessary for patients.
Several of the patients were able to walk without the need for assistance but had powerchairs delivered personally by Hakop Gambaryan. One patient lived in a second floor apartment with no elevator but was provided with a powerchair. Another patient’s home could not fit the powerchair so the defendant left the unit in the garage of the patient. Even more shocking was the defendant adding patient signatures to consent forms when in two cases the patients had passed away.
Hakop Gambaryan billed $3.3 million in false and fraudulent claims to Medicare according to the case filed in court and received $1.7 million from these claims.
Sentencing is scheduled for later in 2015.