Glendale man pleads guilty to laundering $1.1 million in Medicare fraud scheme


A 47-year-old Glendale man pleaded guilty on Monday to charges that he helped launder $1.1 million in proceeds from a healthcare fraud scheme, officials said.

Khachatour Hakobyan pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering and filing a false tax return. Another Glendale man involved in the scheme, 59-year-old Aram Aramyan, also reportedly pleaded guilty to the same two charges earlier this month.

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The pair admitted to depositing more than $1.1 million into bank accounts of five sham corporations they owned and operated to launder money derived from a Medicare fraud scheme, according to the United States attorney’s office.

Once the money was deposited, the pair wrote checks from the bogus corporations to themselves and their associates, in some cases using the money to pay for mortgage payments, rent and home remodeling costs, officials said.

The duo also reportedly cashed some of the checks and returned the funds to the medical entities involved in the scam, after pocketing a 10% commission.

They each face a maximum sentence of 23 years in federal prison. Both are slated to be sentenced in November.

Hakobyan and Aramyan also admitted that they failed to report all of their income in their 2009 tax returns, and have agreed to pay $606,681 and $353,669, respectively, in back taxes, officials said.

Three others, including two more Glendale residents, are also accused in the fraud scheme.

Glendale residents Edgar Hakobyan, 30, and Karen Sarkissian, 43, along with L’Tanya Smith, 57, of Ladera Park, are slated to go to trial in February.

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Between July 2009 and March 2010, Smith allegedly prescribed or ordered unnecessary tests and services, some of which the patients never received, while she worked as a physician’s assistant at an Echo Park clinic operated by Sarkissian, who is accused of laundering the proceeds.

The prescriptions and orders allegedly accounted for more than $11 million in fraudulent claims to Medicare.

Meanwhile, Edgar Hakobyan allegedly profited from the scheme, cashing or depositing checks from the bogus corporations, officials said.


Alene Tchekmedyian,

Twitter: @atchek