Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Six men charged in California with running a crime ring that stole nearly $2 million from federal and private health insurers have been sentenced to state prison terms ranging from four years to 16 months in connection with their guilty pleas to conspiracy, money laundering and other charges, the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office announced.

Deputy District Attorney Celia Politeo of the Organized Crime Division said the final defendant – Edkar Mikirtijyan, 27 -- was sentenced to a four-year state prison term. Mikirtijyan pleaded guilty on June 9 to conspiracy to commit grand theft and money laundering. He also admitted the aggravated white collar crime enhancement, which adds time to any sentence.

The judge also ordered Mikirtijyan and the other defendants to pay $1.987 million to Medicare.

The case was filed against the six men a year ago following an investigation by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Office of Investigations in Los Angeles and other federal and local agencies. The defendants, all from the North Hollywood, Glendale and Van Nuys areas, were accused of conspiracy, money laundering and grand theft of personal property. It was alleged the crimes occurred between March 2005 and September 2006.

District Attorney Steve Cooley noted at the time the case was filed that nationwide, “health care fraud continues to milk billions of dollars annually from government-funded health plans and private health insurers. Health care fraud affects us all.”

The other defendants and their sentences are: Karapet Khacheryan, 38, four years in state prison for conspiracy and money laundering; Hovik Joe Altunyan, 31, four years state prison for conspiracy and money laundering; Grigor Khorikyan, 31, 16 months for conspiracy and money laundering; Vahan Harutyuyan, 33, four years from conspiracy and money laundering; and Smbat Khachtryan, 28, two years for conspiracy, money laundering and possession of an assault weapon. All defendants except Khorikyan and Khachtryan admitted the excessive taking enhancement.

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