California Man Found Guilty of Health Care Fraud, Identify Theft

Vahe Tahmasian, 36, has been found guilty in United States District Court of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, six counts of health care fraud, and six counts of aggravated identity theft.  A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for June 9, 2014

Evidence shows that between April 2009 and February 2011, Tahmasian operated a Medicare fraud scheme at Orthomed Appliance Inc. in West Hollywood, California.  Tahmasian and his co-conspirator, Eric Mkhitarian, purchased Orthomed and put the company in the name of a straw owner.  The two men then stole personal information and used it to submit a large number of fraudulent claims for services that were never prescribed by a physician or provided to the Medicare beneficiaries.  The conspirators then took out more than $622,000 in cash from the company over a six-week period in 2011. Prosecutors believe that in total, Tahmasian submitted nearly $1.6 million in claims to Medicare and received approximately $994,036 on those claims.

Eric Mkhitarian, Tahmasian’s alleged co-conspirator, remains a fugitive.

The charges are a result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Los Angeles Region of HHS-OIG as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force.

Assistant Chief Benton Curtis and Trial Attorney Alexander Porter of the Fraud Section led the prosecution of this case.

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