Fugitives accused of Medicare fraud seen in the Glendale area

Authorities are looking for two fugitives who allegedly helped try to bilk $1.3 million from Medicare and who may be hiding out in Glendale or the surrounding region, according to an announcement Wednesday.

Anush Sahakyan and Karo Gotti Blkhoyan were added to a U.S. Department of Health & Human Services most-wanted list for allegedly taking part in the scheme by using a bogus South Carolina-based medical clinic to submit fraudulent bills.

Witnesses have reported seeing the pair in the area, said Special Agent Su Kim of the Department of Health & Human Services inspector general's office.

Sahakyan and Blkhoyan were indicted in August 2012 for allegedly depositing checks from the bogus medical clinic into bank accounts in Glendale, according to a U.S. District Court indictment.

Blkhoyan reportedly directed Sahakyan and two other defendants to deposit and cash the checks, Kim said.

The sham clinic, which had only a post-office box address, allegedly billed $1.1 million in fraudulent claims to Medicare for patient visits that never happened by using the stolen identity of a doctor, according to the federal indictment.

Medicare paid out $300,000 in false claims before an investigation was opened into the South Carolina doctor's identity when officials noticed the patients were mostly from California and New York.

An investigation involving the agency, FBI and the Internal Revenue Service uncovered the alleged scheme.

Authorities say healthcare fraud — which has typically been confined to larger cities such as Los Angeles — has begun spreading across the U.S. and into smaller cities.

Anyone who has seen Sahakyan and Blkhoyan was asked to report them by visiting the Department of Health & Human Services website, oig.hhs.gov/fugitives, or by calling the agency's hotline at (800) 447-8477.


Follow Veronica Rocha on Google+ and on Twitter: @VeronicaRochaLA.

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