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 Los Angeles Region of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) and Assistant Director in Charge Bill Lewis of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office made the announcement.
Hovik Simitian, 47, of Los Angeles, and Anahit Shatvoryan, 49, of Glendale, California, were each charged in the Central District of California 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 approximately 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.
This case is being investigated by the FBI and HHS-OIG, and was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, under the supervision of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California. This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Blanca Quintero and Alexander F. Porter of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.
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.