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Five Individuals Arrested for Defrauding Medicare of Over $15M Through Sham Hospices and Money Laundering

Office of Public Affairs U.S. Department of Justice

Five individuals were arrested yesterday in Los Angeles on criminal charges related to their roles in a years-long scheme to defraud Medicare of more than $15 million through sham hospice companies and then to launder the fraud proceeds. 

According to an indictment unsealed yesterday, three of the defendants—Petros Fichidzhyan, 43, of Granada Hills, California, Juan Carlos Esparza, 32, of Valley Village, California, and Karpis Srapyan, 34, of Van Nuys, California—allegedly operated a series of sham hospice companies that were purportedly owned by foreign nationals but were in fact owned by the three defendants. The defendants allegedly used the foreign nationals’ identifying information to open bank accounts, to sign property leases, and, by Fichidzhyan, to make phone calls to Medicare, and submitted false and fraudulent claims to Medicare for hospice services. In submitting the false claims, the defendants misappropriated the identifying information of doctors, claiming to Medicare that the doctors had determined hospice services were necessary, when in fact the purported recipients of these hospice services were not terminally ill and had never requested nor received care from the sham hospices. In some instances, the defendants falsely claimed that the same beneficiary received services from multiple sham hospices.


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