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Burbank doctors accused of Medi-Cal fraud scheme

Darleene Barrientos

A Burbank couple was among seven people charged Thursday in a Medi-

Cal fraud scheme that bilked $500,000 from the state, authorities

said.

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Glendale doctors Armen Kazanchian, 46, Noune Pashinian, 41, and

Vahan Madatovian, 46, are each charged with one count of grand theft

with special allegations, eight counts of Medi-Cal fraud, seven

counts of identity theft and two counts of money laundering, said

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Collin Wong, director of the state bureau of Medi-Cal fraud and

elder abuse.

The three doctors, who practiced from their respective offices on

Central, El Rito and Pacific avenues, were charged along with Robert

Khatchatrian, 48, of Burbank, Asmik Aroutiounian, 45, also of

Burbank, Norik Yeghisian, 55, of Glendale, and Vagharshak Pilossyan,

of Sherman Oaks. Pilossyan, also a doctor, ran a practice on

Riverside Drive in Sherman Oaks.

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The case is significant because of the involvement of the four

board-certified doctors, Wong said.

“They should have been able to make a viable living,” Wong said.

“But they gave in to their greed and avarice.”

Aroutiounian and Khatchatrian, who are married, are accused of

running MTC Pharmacy in Van Nuys as a front for their fraud ring from

July 2000 to April 2001, Wong said. The four doctors reportedly

issued prescriptions to the pharmacy with their patients’

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information. In turn, the pharmacy allegedly billed Medi-Cal, but did

not buy the prescriptions.

Yeghisian, who was reportedly employed as the pharmacy’s office

manager, is accused of taking the profits of MTC Pharmacy and

laundering it through a second company, Royal Caviar.

Aroutiounian and Khatchatrian have fled the country, Wong said,

and are believed to be in Armenia.

The bureau is in the process of arranging self-surrender for the

other five suspects with their attorneys, Wong said.

“Too often this area of crime is overlooked and dismissed because

it’s perceived as a victimless crime,” Wong said. “But the financial

burden for health-care fraud lands on the shoulders of the people of

California.”


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