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L.A. doctor and a conspirator are found guilty in $22-million Medicare scam

Medical documents
Prosecutors say the group billed Medicare for services that were either unnecessary or never provided —totaling $33 million in fraudulent claims.
(Minerva Studio / Getty Images)

A doctor and a woman who recruited patients to his Los Angeles clinic were found guilty Friday of healthcare fraud for their roles in a scheme that swindled Medicare out of $22 million.

At the conclusion of a seven-day trial, federal jurors found Robert Glazer, 73, who owned Glazer Clinic, guilty of a count of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud and 12 counts of healthcare fraud. Marina Merino, 62, who recruited patients as part of the scam, was convicted of a count of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud and eight counts of healthcare fraud, according to federal prosecutors.

Glazer and Merino were indicted in 2015, along with Angela Avetisyan — the clinic’s office manager — and Ashot Minasyan, who owned a home health business called Fifth Avenue with Avetisyan, according to court records.

Prosecutors say the group billed Medicare for services that were either unnecessary or never provided —totaling $33 million in fraudulent claims, $22 million of which was paid — between January 2006 and May 2014, according to an indictment filed in federal court.

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Merino received kickback payments from Avetisyan and Minasyan to recruit people with Medicare benefits to the clinic, prosecutors said.

When the patients visited the clinic, Glazer wrote unnecessary prescriptions for durable medical equipment, such as power wheelchairs, and signed unnecessary certifications for home health and hospice care. Some patients would have blood drawn and go through unnecessary ultrasounds and electrocardiograms, according to the indictment.

Based on referrals from Glazer, Avetisyan and Minasyan billed Medicare for home health services that were not rendered or were not medically necessary through their home health business. Avetisyan also sold Glazer’s referrals to other home health and durable medical equipment agencies, prosecutors said.

Avetisyan and Minasyan pleaded guilty to charges against them in October 2018. They are scheduled to be sentenced Monday. Glazer and Merino are expected to be sentenced Sept. 9.

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hannah.fry@latimes.com

Twitter: @Hannahnfry


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