Southern California Medicare Fraud Update: Armenian Mob “Vor” Kazarian gets Three-Year “Sweetheart Deal”
Last Monday, Armen Kazarian, a “Vor” or “don” for the Armenian mafia, admitted in court that “I was involved in a criminal conspiracy,” including Southern California Medicare fraud.
Last October, federal investigators busted up Kazarian’s ring of 118 “phantom” clinics that allegedly made off with over $35 million in funds. All told, Kazarian and his co-conspirators tried to defraud the government out of around $160 million. 70 mobsters stand accused. So far, only Karen Aharonian and Rafik Terdjanain have pled guilty. The deal that the mob godfather developed with prosecutors generated heated debate on the blogosphere. According to the New York Daily News, Kazarian “admitted Monday to making threats and other crimes in exchange for the light (3-year) sentence. The final details of the plea were put off for a week.” Prosecutors who busted up the ring expressed their respect for the size and structure of the Armenian mob’s conspiracy, saying that it “put the traditional mafia to shame.”
Will busting up Kazarian’s ring fundamentally alter the game? When reports suggest that Medicare fraud losses top $60 billion a year, it’s hard to see how any individual busts — even of the size and scope of this crackdown — can have fundamental, game changing effects.
This isn’t to say that actions to clamp down on crimes like Southern California identity theft, Los Angeles white collar crime and Southern California insurance fraud shouldn’t be priorities. But let’s at least collectively acknowledge the limitations that law enforcement agencies face.
Elsewhere, Business Week has reported that a Federal judge in Tennessee has ordered three companies to pay over $86.2 million in a separate Medicare fraud case started up by a whistleblower.
What should you do if you’ve been accused of medical, dental or chiropractic fraud in Southern California? A Los Angeles criminal defense attorney can help you organize and follow through on a strong strategy. But time is of the essence. The longer you wait to retain experienced counsel, the more difficult may be to assemble evidence, construct arguments and anticipate prosecutorial tactics. Attorney Michael Kraut of Los Angeles’ Kraut Law Group spent the bulk of his career as a city prosecutor (Senior Deputy District Attorney), and he leverages his former prosecutorial experience to tremendous effect for his clients. Attorney Kraut can provide a free, comprehensive and confidential consultation about your white collar crime charges.