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Dozens of Armenians Charged with Largest Medicare Scam Ever

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By Tom Hays

NEW YORK (AP)—A vast network of Armenian gangsters and their associates used phantom healthcare clinics and other means to try to cheat Medicare out of $163 million, the largest fraud by one criminal enterprise in the program’s history, U.S. authorities said Wednesday.

Federal prosecutors in New York and elsewhere charged 73 people. Most of the defendants were captured during raids Wednesday morning in New York City and Los Angeles, but there also were arrests in New Mexico, Georgia, and Ohio.

The scheme’s scope and sophistication “puts the traditional Mafia to shame,” U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said at a Manhattan news conference. “They ran a veritable fraud franchise.”

Unlike other cases involving crooked medical clinics bribing people to sign up for unneeded treatments, the operation was “completely notional,” Janice Fedarcyk, head of the FBI’s New York office, said in a statement. “The whole doctor-patient interaction was a mirage.”

The operation was under the protection of an Armenian crime boss, known in the former Soviet Union as a “vor,” prosecutors said. The reputed boss, Armen Kazarian, was in custody in Los Angeles.

Bharara said it was the first time a vor—“the rough equivalent of a traditional godfather”—had been charged in a U.S. racketeering case.

Kazarian, 46, of Glendale, Calif., and two alleged ringleaders—Davit Mirzoyan, 34, also of Glendale, and Robert Terdjanian, 35, of Brooklyn—were named in an indictment charging racketeering conspiracy, bank fraud, money laundering, and identity theft.

The indictment accused Terdjanian and others of hatching other schemes involving stolen credit cards, untaxed cigarettes, and counterfeit Viagra. It also alleges that during a meeting last year at a Brighton Beach restaurant, Terdjanian pulled a knife on someone who owed him money “and threatened to disembowel the individual if the debt was not paid.”

A judge jailed Terdjanian without bail on Wednesday at a brief hearing. Afterward, his attorney said his client denies the charges.

Kazarian and Mirzoyan were scheduled to appear in court Wednesday in Los Angeles.

Authorities began the New York-based investigation after information on 2,900 Medicare patients in upstate New York—including Social Security numbers and dates of birth—were reported stolen.

The defendants in the New York case also had stolen the identities of doctors and set up 118 phantom clinics in 25 states, authorities said. The names were used to submit fake bills for care that was never given, they said.

Some of the phony paperwork was a giveaway: It showed eye doctors doing bladder tests; ear, nose, and throat specialists performing pregnancy ultrasounds; obstetricians testing for skin allergies; and dermatologists billing for heart exams.

In the New York portion of the case, more than $100 million in fraudulent bills were submitted and Medicare paid out at least $35 million, sometimes by wiring it to the clinics’ banks accounts, investigators said.

Most of the defendants “were Armenian nationals or immigrants and many maintained substantial ties to Armenia” and criminals there, the indictment said. Couriers would often carry cash proceeds from the fraud back to Armenia, it added.

Prosecutors were seeking forfeiture of real estate in Las Vegas; Palm Springs, Calif.; and elsewhere; and of a 2007 Maserati and a 2006 Jaguar.

28 Comments on Dozens of Armenians Charged with Largest Medicare Scam Ever

  1. avatar Grish Begian // October 14, 2010 at 3:24 pm // Reply

    With the help of same criminal elements of Armenia, money laundry businesses transferred out side of Armenia, for much better results..Soviet era corrupted mentality is well preserved within Armenia’s top ranking government officials!!
    This is why Armenia, ranked 120th among 180 most corrupted nations of the world in 2010..

  2. This is ugly. Although they say Sicilian mafia originated because the American society didn’t originally accept “lousy guineas,” so they went underground. I wonder if the same might have happened to these Armenian guys… Armenians are generally known for their loyalty in any country they came to reside after having fled Turkish massacres and forced relocations.

  3. What a shame. I cannot find the right words to express my anger. I hope they rot in jail for the rest of their lives.

  4. What can I say…you’ve all earned the reputation which the world knows you all for! But, as usual, the Armenian diaspora will find a con job approach to somehow try to blame Turkey and/or Azerbaijan, while at the same time trying to spin the facts so that they (Armenians) will be the usual “innocent and pure victims” of the barbaric Turk!

  5. Too sad for words.  I am so disappointed and angry.  What a awful PR moment for us!  I hope these criminals do their time and repay what they stole.  Also hope other Armenian immigrants who learned the art of ‘outsmarting the government’ during the Soviet period learn that this is not the way we do things in America.  The majority of hard working and honorable Armenian Americans and Armenian immigrants don’t deserve to be smeared by this ugly gang of thieves.
     
    And Robert, you are so predictable.  You have no right to be so smug.  We have enough to blame Turkey for.  We don’t need to blame your morally bankrupt government for this.  These Armenians will pay for their crimes.  This is more than I can say for the murderers of 1.5 million plus Hrant and his lawyer.

  6. Robert — Have decency. Our reputation as a nation will not be spoiled by an act of a group of criminals. Travel anywhere in the Middle East, Europe, Russia, the Americas, and Australia and ask the locals what they think of us as a nation. Don’t forget to ask your fellow Muslims: Arabs and Persians, where there are large communities and I’m sure you’ll get positive feedback. This is how the world knows us in contrast to how the world knows your ilk which you yourself confirmed in the end of your comment. Have decency, because a Turk cannot even utter a word addressed to an Armenian because of a heinous crime you’ve committed.

  7. Robert,

    you are so pathetic in your efforts to try to get even. There are criminals and mafia everywhere, and everybody knows that. Madoff alone has caused hundreds of times more damage than this group of criminals, not to mention the rest of the Wall Street criminals. In July, 2010, 94 Americans, including many doctors and nurses, were charged with a huge medicare fraud, and not one was Armenian. And, for sure, that’s not at all “the reputation which the world knows you all for” no matter how much you would like it to be the case. So don’t dream.

    I wonder when you are going to condemn your criminal ancestors and your denialist government for the numerous crimes against humanity. Unlike you, we all expressed our disappointment and disgust for what has happened. 

     

  8. Hye, robert the turk robot, sadly, knows no better having been educated in the Turkish educational system which BRAVELY, in omissions, hides the truths of the BRAVE
    Turkish Genocide of the Armenian nation, not only from their own Turkish citizens, too, their leaderships even lie to themselves… a/o with assistance of the overpaid
    lobbyists from the USA congress too, knowlingly, denying a world history of the likes of the Turkish Genocides, Greeks, Syrians, Assyrians… and the ‘final’ elimination of the Armenian peoples from their own ancient and advanced lands of nearly 4,000 years. 
    Actually during these 4,000 years of Turk history is non-existent…  hence not only did the Turks steal the Armenian lands, cultures and wealths – Turks needed to have an identity of their own… hence Ottomans and their subsequent Turkish leaderships stole
    the ancient history of the Armenians as their ‘own’ Turk culture… and brag as their own culture… actuality:   the Armenian culture.  Too, until today the Turks lie to the
    world of their brillance, reality: that which the Turks have stolen – yet claim as Turks’.
    So, a robot robert exists – and so many just as he.  They know not… and evidently, when it is brought to their attention – they cannot and will not and have not made any efforts to further their own education – learning the history of the world (not as offered by their own leaders) but what the world shall have to say about the true history of Turks
    as they were in the Asian mountains, as they are for the centuries they came to occupy the lands that were recognized, historically, as the lands and the cultures of the ancient and civilized humans known as the Armenians.  Too, Armenia became the first nation, in 301 A.D. to accept Christianity their state religion – followed by the Romans in 306 A.D.  So much for such as a robot robert to endeavor to unlearn – from his Turk education…
    Manooshag

  9. avatar naregatzi@gmail.com // October 15, 2010 at 1:34 pm // Reply

    Yes, every country has its own mafia’s and wrong doers. However, I would ask the young and educated men and women to look into the social dynamics of these people. Yes we lived and survived persecution, injustice and corruption for 1000 years under the yataghan of the Ottoman empire, and throughout ages, our genetic bank got corrupted and continues to be corrupted. I hope the young generation will pay attention to wars and bring to the forefront atrocities committed, and its effects on the psyche of the population. Under this outlook analysing the Genocide, and opposing all kinds of wars. The same happened in Soviet Armenia, the same situation existed in Karapagh and still continues. It will take many generations to clean the psyche of the population. It is necessary to do constructive criticism whenever each one of you find yourselves facing injustice. Whenever you travel to Armenia, if you travel, please do not hesitate to tell to your hosts your observations, and may be the diaspora Armenians we have to start a movement or something sending emails to the authorities in the homeland asking them to clean their acts. If we who leave in ‘democratic’ societies we do not raise our voice, it will take longer to clean the mess wars have left us as legacy. Think.

  10. Armenian fraud is not something new. What I wonder is if any of this Armenian fraud money, even a cent, found its way into the koffers of corrupt ploticians. After all, these politicians sold America’s interests time and again, just for a few Armenian dollars, didn’t they?

  11. Its time the Turks paid for their crimes committed against humanity. Don’t hid under a european name you scoundrel.

  12. avatar Grish Begian // October 15, 2010 at 4:03 pm // Reply

    Robert,
    Keep in your mind, that some Armenians in Armenia lost their pride and dignity to be “real Armenians”, due to Bolshevik revolution. Bribery, fraud, alcoholism was a way of life in Soviet States, best method to kill nationalism and social unrest…so if you see crooks like that, we Armenians know the root cause…we will do our best for them to CHANGE and lead them again to “RIGHT WAY”…you have to understand beside the Bolshevism, there were also Pan Turkism …Armenians also suffered from next enemy, Ottomans, where until today, their respective inherited governments feeding the pocket of crooks and criminals, who are helping them to fight and cover-up the recognition of AG in US, where some people like you “temporarily” justified and get excited… you just be a proud Turk, for now, where your pedophile national hero is watching you from hell…
    Dear Naregatzi I agree with you %100

  13. Actually the crimes againt the health plan system of the USA was, if you are able to think, very doable… as far as it went…AND such modified crimes against the USA health plan were not unknown!  Probably became ovbious with goofing with wrong ailment with the wrong physicians… well,they tried. So did Madoff, good while it lasted… and so many others world-wide, unending. All took some great minds, planning, creation and estblishing – to accomplish such, for as long as it lasted…  Sadly misdirected towards crimes.  Manooshag
    P.S.  So much of such goings on… latest in the USA the ‘buying’ of the Woodrow Wilson Center via devious means – includes the USA ex- congressmenwoman who heads the organization, foreign nations which have
    bought the memorium to this fine American, President Woodrow Wilson’s and diverted it to the most unseemly and vile ways – again, here in the USA!
    And Ambassadors chosen, political nincompoops, proven to be incapable and yet such as the Washington Post felt compelled to praise – has  not any others of the USA State Department any  higher mentality, ability, and dedication to our nation – as a John Hughes, or have other nations, politically, stepped into the very environs of our United States of America government offices – able to make the selections of our Ambassadors to suit themselves?
    Manooshag

  14. It’s opportune for it to come out in advance of possible Congressional consideration for the Armenian Genocide Resolution.  The Turks and their supporters are the best to benefit from the negativity of this issue.  Timing is everything.  And then of course they’re most likely from Russia but what do I know…although it can be detrimental to possible forthcoming Congressional attention for Armenian matters.

  15. robert you are nothing but an annoying ASS…
    why is anyone explaining who we are as a nation to this nobody???
    before you throw the stone at the armenian criminals, why don’t you revisit dall the crimes committed and are being committed today by your barbaric, vicious people,
    as for the rest of you, who are feeling embarrassed because of a few garbage individuals…show me one ethnic group in america who hasn’t, or isn’t associated with criminal activity, and when i say ethnic i am not just referring to the minorities, i am referring to everyone starting with the pilgrims…and if you want to be embarrassed of criminals, i will give you over 400 reasons in the house of reps, 100 reasons in the senate, the king of criminals, the president and his gofers, and the countless corporations, and their CEOs, the certifiable thieves of wall street , and best of all, the god of all criminals… the federal reserve, these heartless, unconscionable, money worshiping spawns of evil are committing all sorts of crimes against us americans, and humanity as a whole, that makes this $163 million scam seen like a child’s play, a mere drop of water in a vast sea,
    people get real!!!!

  16. avatar Random Armenian // October 16, 2010 at 1:53 am // Reply

    Kirlikovali and Robert,
    Turkish brutality and oppression is nothing new. Look at the Dersim massacre, the thousands of unarmed Kurdish civilians killed in the name of going after the PKK. The confiscation of properties of the minorities. The meddling into who can be their religious leaders. The brutal murder of the priests. The murder of Hrant Dink. The bussing of mobs into Istanbul to go after Greeks And all this and others, after the founding of the Turkish Republic.
    Do you see how easy it is to play this game? How easy it is to point to all these acts and say something like “This is what a Turk is”? Is this the game you want to play? It’s an ugly game but very easy to play.

  17. avatar Sylva-MD-Poetry // October 16, 2010 at 10:47 pm // Reply

    There is a proverb among Arab communities in the Middle East,
    if somebody takes bribe or cheat they say thy learned from Ottomans.
    Those mafia did not kill any one they manipulated papers but did not deal with blood.
    “The bank notes can be replaced but never the lost lives.”
    Sylva

  18. Some of the Armenians from the former Soviet Union give the rest of us a bad name. They learned corruption there due to communism.
    The Armenians outside of the former Soviet Union don’t do this.
    The Turks are celebrating with this news. This fits in with their sterotypes about us.
    Countries that are well to do, don’t have corruption. One day Armenia will be a well to do country–smart people.

  19. Addendem to the current story re the  ‘involvement of the Turks in the Woodrow Wilson Center ‘takeover’…
    Of course, and why not!?
    In all the history books of the world, (except the Turkish ‘edited versions)
    who stands out , from the United State of America as amongst outspoken
    of our United States American president of the Turkish Genocide of the
    Armenian nation….President Woodrow Wilson!
    Hence, today, the ‘taking over’ the American foundation, the Woodrow Wilson Center
    – greatly ‘taking over’ are the various Turkish entities… getting back at our
    President Woodrow Wilson…. Too, another IN YOUR FACE USA – ongoing!
    Of course this involves the current Woodrow Wilson’s ‘management’ which
    is and has been for many years, an ex-congressman, now nicely readying
    for his retirement – with honors, to be sure!  Thus the Turkish ‘ally’ gets
    back at Woodrow Wilson, so many years later, for daring to speak up and
    daring to speak  out – honesty from our President Woodrow Wilson…
    who today has been betrayed by the deceitful, dishonest Turks,
    worse yet, too, by those who followed him in various and diverse positions in
    the government of the United States of America.  A Turkey, ongoing, unending
    in their efforts to defile the American republic..in so many ways… count them!
    And this from a Turkey who claims to be the ‘best ally’ of the USA…
    ERROR!  It is the USA who has been the ‘greatest ally’of a Turkey – to date…
    Manooshag

  20. Editor,
    Timely,  to honor Mrs. Jane Wingate, translator of THE FOOL, as well as portions of the Armenian Church Liturgy… See too INTRODUCTION by K.A. Sarafian, who offers this and more…   Manooshag

  21. Kirlikovali, the biggest fraud being committed against the whole world today is the one by Turkey which has tried denying the genocide for almost a century.  Be careful about gloating because you have no leg to stand on.  The truth is known by your leaders and its denial corrupts every corner of Turkish society today.  A few cheating Armenians do not indict a whole nation, just as a few factions of freedom fighters did not justify deportation, death marches and massacres of a nation in 1915.  Or does the murder of Hrant Dink indict the entire nation of Turks?  Does your prejudice and hatred of Armenians represent your entire nation?
     

  22. Too, the USA Justice Department shall be called upon to seek those of our USA nationals who give any aid and more to the Turks in these obviously vile attempts to destroy and deceive… (all guilty of ‘aid to enemy’). 
    Odd:  Turks claim that the Turks are the BEST allies of the USA.
    Truth:  It is the misdirected United States of America leaderships who are the GREATEST ALLY of the wily Turkish nation…
    Truth:  over the years, over the century and more, since proven  the world over that Turks committed the Turkish Genocide of the Armenian nation… the Turks lied to the world… that the Turkish Genoicde of the Armenians – never occurred. 

    (Liken this to the children’s fairy tale – THE EMPORER’S CLOTHING – he wore none, had none… tailor’s told him his new clothes were ready.  He, believing the tailors, that  he was now clothed (though he didn’t see any) paraded before his citizens to display his new clothing…but he was only wearing his underwear!
    Until child, in honesty, called out the truth: HE’S NOT WEARING ANY NEW CLOTHES)…
    Manooshag

  23. I am not at all surprised at the latest Armenian scam being perpetrated by these political refugees in Glendale.  We all know what **** they are.  The real **** are those in the U.S. Government who saw fit to reward them by declaring them political refugees, knowing full well the damage they would do to the American economy.

  24. Well said Manooshag.  How about all the scams, rather the billions and billions of dollars that were stolen from innocent people by individuals such as Bernad Madoff in the US and the mega billions of dollars that were stolen from US Citizens from the Stock Market?  And how about the millions of dollars that were given yearly to some US Congressmen and Senators to do a good job of denying the Armenian Genocide and thus putting it under the rug as well as shoving under the rug the cultural annihilation of our 30,000 Khatchkars in Julfa, Nakhichevan?

    Some good people such as Naregatzi above gave some legitimate and good reasons for the above peoples’ wrongdoings.  Let us not forget the horrific regimes of both the Turkofils and the Soviet regimes that unfortunately assymilated some of our people from their historical basic characteristics.  The facts remain that we were the first nation to accept Christianity, thus our Churches are reminding our people of their heritage and their Christian faith everyday and of their ethics.  Our brothers and sisters in Armenia today don’t have to deal with anymore neither with Turkofils nor Bolshevism, thank goodness.  We Armenians have been told by Victor Hugo to be the most civilised nation in the world, and despite of our long history of barbarity that befell upon us for a thousand years by the Seljuk Turks that are today’s Turkish Republic and the annihilation of the majority of our people, nevertheless we have survived it and we have survived Bolshevism as well.  And today, the majority of our people are still very civilized and loved by all nations of the world as we are called to be the good citizens of the world. 

  25. We are ashamed of these low class no honor Armenians who committed these awful act of crime. They are the dirt of our nation…There is no excuse what so ever for there criminal act. They must be punished, and I hope an Armenian prosecutor attorney will step up and put them away for lifetime. We condemn any criminal, but when the criminal is an Armenian we feel ashamed of those criminals, so we must punish them, not excuse them…..  
    Armenians around the world are respected and well known for there creativity, dignity, honesty, and hard work. This criminals are remaining of ex Soviet Unions corrupt systems garbage. That regime tried to strip our nation from Armenian identity  from Armenian honor and dignity, thank God most Armenians stood tall, that’s why we are surviving as a nation, and we will rebuild our free country and restore our national dignity…Those criminals are the Armenian devils, they chose to use there brilliant minds to go down the wrong path, they could of had better chance if they had chosen a right path… in the end God will always win, and I hope they will get what they deserve, and I  hope we will be able to heal from the stab in the back they gave us as Armenians, they are our devils we must clean them from any society, and put them away forever. There punishment should serve as a lesson to anyone else thinking to commit similar crimes. If they even know what shame means; I say; “SHAME ON THEM”!!!!!

  26.  Kirlikovali, genocide against 3 races isn’t something  new to the Turks. Yes, against Greeks, Assryians and Armenians. Now massacres agsist the Turks former allies (such as Dersim), the Kurds. What the Turks couldn’t take their possessions, so the Turks had to kill them to take their possessions? There is a reason why the EU doesn’t want Turkey. There also is a reason why the German president said multiculturalism doesn’t work, indirectly referring to the Turks–the largest minority in Germany.

  27. Kirli the clown:
     
    Worry about your comb over.

  28. Older Armenians will tell you that when they were young, there were no Armenians in jail. This was never true, but the old world is done, for Armenians and non Armenians alike.
    Our Turkish friends take great pleasure in these reports, but they are in a poor position to point, given the interlocking of the Turkish heroin mafia with the military and government. Not to mention their efforts to corrupt our government.
    Neither can we avoid the issue by pointing to unfair media treatment that ignores the non-Armenian components of this latest ring.
    These crimes will continue by Armenians and non-Armenians alike.
    Please read the recent four month series in the AGBU Ararat magazine discussing a current lost generation of young men and women in southern California, who need our guidance and support. They hail from families from the entire Diaspora as well as Hayasdan. Let’s help them to see the historic Christian light, so that they do not fall.
     
     
     

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