Fugitive Medicare scammer may be hiding in L.A. area, authorities say
Federal investigators say one of Medicare’s most wanted fugitives, who was convicted in a $20-million fraud case, may be hiding out in the Los Angeles area.
Authorities say Nuritsa Grigoryan fled last month after being found guilty for her role at a Glendale clinic where she was accused of posing as a doctor and writing prescriptions for pricey anti-psychotic medications.
Investigators with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services say the clinic often recruited homeless patients, used their information to bill Medicare and Medi-Cal for the drugs, and then resold the medications, such as Abilify, to rake in even more money.
Government officials said the scheme generated fraudulent billing of more than $20 million, and Medicare and Medi-Cal paid roughly $8 million.
Grigoryan was scheduled to be sentenced in June. She faced up to 30 years in prison, according to the government.
But authorities say she hasn’t been seen since Feb. 24. She was being monitored by the court with an ankle bracelet, but she must have disabled or removed it, said Eric Larson, a special agent with the Health and Human Services Department’s inspector general.
Larson said that Grigoryan went to the Armenian consulate in Glendale for travel documents before she went missing, so it’s possible that she left the U.S.
But Grigoryan’s family is still in the L.A. area as well as her small, white dog that was often seen with her in video surveillance conducted by investigators.
“That was just another thought that she might be close by,” Larson said. “The dog spent a lot of time with her.”
Grigoryan and two associates were convicted on numerous charges, including healthcare fraud conspiracy, making false statements and aggravated identity theft, according to the government.
The scammers were “driving extremely expensive cars and have a nice lifestyle, taking advantage of homeless people on the taxpayers’ dime,” Larson said. “They have no intention of giving these people care.”
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