Doctor gets 9 years in prison for his role in Glendale clinic fraud case

A doctor who pre-signed thousands of blank prescription slips for a sham medical clinic in Glendale that defrauded Medicare and Medi-Cal of $9 million has been sentenced to nine years in federal prison, officials said.

Kenneth Johnson, 49, was convicted in 2014 of fraudulently prescribing expensive antipsychotic medications, which were later used to generate $20 million in fraudulent billings to Medicare and Medi-Cal, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

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Operators of Manor Medical Imaging in Glendale employed an unlicensed medical practitioner, Nuritsa Grigoryan, to fill out the pre-signed prescription slips and later billed and rebilled the government for the drugs.

Grigoryan, 51, reportedly fled the country after her conviction and remains a fugitive.

By manipulating files of people who had been recruited or whose identities were stolen, clinic operators made it seem as though the patients — including elderly and homeless people, as well as military veterans — were being legitimately treated.

After the prescriptions were filled, the drugs were sold on the black market and redistributed to pharmacies, where they'd be used in new claims filed to Medicare and Medi-Cal.

A judge called the scheme "particularly devious" because organizers targeted under-the-radar drugs to evade the attention of authorities, officials said.

Two other people — siblings Lianna Ovsepian, 35, owner of the clinic, and Artak Ovsepian, 34 — also were convicted in the scam. They were sentenced to eight years and 15 years, respectively, in prison.

Twitter: @atchek

Tchekmedyian writes for Times Community News.

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A version of this article appeared in print on January 08, 2016, in the News section of the Los Angeles Times with the headline "Doctor gets 9 years in prison - He falsely prescribed drugs in a scam by a Glendale medical clinic, officials say." — Today's paperToday's paper | Subscribe