On March 29, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the conviction of Gayk Akhsharumov, the owner of two California-based hospice companies, along with his biller and consultant, Karen Sarkisyan, for their alleged involvement in activities that the DOJ claims resulted in the defrauding of Medicare of over $9 million in false and fraudulent claims for hospice services.

According to the DOJ, from around January 2018 through May 2021, Akhsharumov used his two hospice companies, San Gabriel Hospice and Palliative Care Inc., and Broadway Hospice Inc., to defraud Medicare of approximately $9 million. The DOJ alleges that Akhsharumov concealed his ownership and control over the hospice entities from Medicare, utilized nominee owners, paid kickbacks to patient recruiters, and profited from the alleged activities.

After San Gabriel ceased operations in April 2020, Akhsharumov purportedly obtained COVID-19 relief funds. The DOJ claims he also submitted fraudulent loan applications to the Small Business Administration and another financial institution, resulting in San Gabriel receiving $50,000. Additionally, he allegedly misappropriated approximately $91,483 in funds deposited into San Gabriel’s bank account through the Provider Relief Fund, a program intended to aid healthcare providers affected by the pandemic.

During the same period, the DOJ alleges that Sarkisyan submitted false and fraudulent Medicare enrollment forms for San Gabriel, falsely identifying a straw owner as the sole owner and manager while concealing the true owners and managers. This allegedly led to San Gabriel submitting false claims to Medicare, resulting in Medicare paying approximately $3,668,050 to San Gabriel, of which $3,180,677 was paid after Sarkisyan’s submission of the alleged false enrollment applications.

Akhsharumov pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud on March 13, 2023, while Sarkisyan pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States on April 3, 2023. Akhsharumov was sentenced to one year and one day in prison and ordered to pay $9,185,211 in restitution. Sarkisyan, also known as Kevin Sarkisyan, received a similar sentence of one year and one day in prison and was ordered to pay $3,688,050 in restitution.

The attorneys at Chilivis Grubman represent clients of all types and sizes in connection with criminal healthcare fraud and government investigations. If you need assistance with such a matter, please contact us today.