Brothers plead not guilty to fraud charges

Two Burbank brothers pleaded not guilty to allegedly billing the government at least $300,000 for transporting injured U.S. Postal Service employees to medical appointments that never took place.

Roman "Mike" Aghajanyan, 27, and Roland "George" Aghajanyan, 28, were arrested by federal authorities on Oct. 20 after the U.S. attorney's office filed an indictment that included 30 counts of alleged fraud.

The Aghajanyans operated two Los Angeles-based companies, A&R Medical Transportation and V&Y Management Incorporated, doing business as Prestige Transportation, records show.

Authorities allege the brothers broadcast at least 30 calls to a dispatch center claiming to be transporting clients to their medical appointments in Los Angeles and Orange counties beginning in December 2003 until at least August of this year. But investigators say those trips never took place, and that the government received bills for $1,000 to nearly $2,000 per claim.

Assistant U.S. Atty. Jeannie M. Joseph, who handles many health-care-related fraud complaints, said this was one of the more egregious cases of fraud she has handled.

"Billing for things you never did is a common defrauding technique in the health-care system," she said.

The brothers are accused of filing claims not only for patient transports that never occurred, but that they grossly inflated the amount of their claims to the Department of Labor-Office of Workers Compensation, as well as private workers' compensation insurers, according to a statement issued by the U.S. attorney's office.

Each count of wire fraud carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.

Court documents state that the extent of the fraud and the individuals involved is still under investigation.

The Department of Labor, FBI and U.S. Postal Service all contributed to the investigation.

The Aghajanyans are both free on $75,000 bonds and are scheduled to stand trial on Dec. 28.

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