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May 21 – Armenian Man Gets 5 Years in Medicare Fraud Scheme

May 21, 2012 – Sahak Tumanyanm, 42, received a five-year federal prison sentence last week from Chief U.S. District Court Judge Lisa Godbey Wood for his role in a health care fraud and money laundering conspiracy in which more than $1.5 million was stolen from Medicare through a phony medical business in Brunswick.

U.S. Attorney Edward J. Tarver said Tumanyanm’s “ cohorts stole over $1 million of taxpayer dollars from Medicare.  Then, the defendant helped launder the ill-gotten gains through an intricate series of phony businesses.”

A team of federal prosecutors, agents and auditors followed the trail of stolen money that led to the prosecution.

Derrick L. Jackson, special agent in charge of the Atlanta Region for the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services, said the sentence sends “a clear-cut message to organized crime groups that infiltrate our nation’s health care system to steal from the taxpayers.  The Office of Inspector General will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners to bring these criminal enterprises to justice.”

Tumanyanm, who was in the United States on an expired visa from Armenia, lived in Los Angeles until the time of his arrest. He previously pleaded guilty to a money laundering conspiracy charge.  According to the evidence presented at the guilty plea and sentencing hearings:
• Brunswick Medical Supply was a fraudulent medical equipment provider that was opened in Brunswick in 2007.  Associates of Tumanyanm fraudulently obtained a Medicare provider number for this phony businesses, stole the identities of hundreds of Medicare beneficiaries, stole the identities of dozens of doctors, and used this stolen information to submit millions of dollars in phony claims for health care services that were never provided.  Medicare paid approximately $1.5 million for these fraudulent claims before Brunswick Medical Supply was shut down. 

Tumanyanm then took numerous steps to launder the money stolen from Medicare. He opened at least four sham businesses in Los Angeles; opened multiple bank accounts in the names of these businesses; and, used these bank accounts to launder the proceeds of the fraud at Brunswick Medical Supply. 

The evidence also showed that Tumanyanm helped launder hundreds of thousands of dollars of other money stolen through various schemes to defraud, such as identity theft, check kiting and other health care fraud schemes.

In addition to a 5-year prison sentence, Tumanyanm must pay restitution to Medicare of $308,963, and to serve 3 years of supervised release.

After he finishes serving his prison sentence, he will face deportation proceedings.

The prosecution of Tumanyanm was part of a multi-jurisdictional investigation involving more than $100 million worth of phony claims submitted to Medicare. More than 35 defendants were charged as part of this investigation in Brunswick, New York, Los Angeles, Cleveland and Albuquerque.
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