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 The leading web portal for pharmacy resources, news, education and careers October 22, 2014
Pharmacy Choice - Pharmaceutical News - Three arrested in Medicare fraud at Hurst clinic [Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Texas] - October 22, 2014

Pharmacy News Article

 11/16/11 - Three arrested in Medicare fraud at Hurst clinic [Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Texas]

Nov. 16The owner and associates of a Hurst healthcare business were arrested Tuesday by federal authorities on suspicion that they bilked Medicare out of more than $370,000.

Ovsanna Agopian also known as Joanna Ovsanna and Joanna Smbatyan was arrested in Houston. A federal indictment says that as the principal operator of Euless Healthcare, she recruited doctors by telling them that they would treat patients in their homes, but they never did. The physicians didn't even treat the patients at the Hurst clinic, federal officials said.

Instead, the company is accused of using those doctors' Medicare provider numbers to bill Medicare for office visits and tests that were not performed. The company billed for extensive diagnostic testing on patients, including motor nerve conduction tests, allergy skin tests and reflex tests "supposedly performed ... during a single visit" to the clinic, according to the indictment.

Many patients, in whose names the Hurst business submitted claims for reimbursement, had never heard of Euless Healthcare or any of the doctors that Agopian recruited, according to U.S. Attorney Sarah Saldana of the Northern District of Texas. Also arrested were Boghos Babadjanian in Los Angeles and Tolulope Labeodan in Dallas. According to the indictment, Babadjanian was the owner of the Hurst business, at 222 W. Bedford-Euless Road, and Labeodan was an employee.

The indictment alleges that Agopian directed Labeodan, who is not a medical professional, to take patient files from the clinic and see patients. The Medicare reimbursement checks were deposited into Babadjanian's bank account, officials said.

The company billed Medicare for more than $700,000 and received more than $370,000 from the fraudulent claims, according to the indictment.

An initial court appearance for the three is scheduled soon in Dallas. Each defendant faces federal charges of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud and nine counts of healthcare fraud. If convicted, each federal charge carries a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Records show that Agopian, 56, was suspended indefinitely in October 2005 from the California Department of Health Services Medicaid program. Agopian was also on the U.S. Health and Human Services Department's list of people excluded from receiving federal healthcare funds.

Domingo Ramirez Jr., 817-390-7763

Darren Barbee, 817-390-7126

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(c)2011 the Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Visit the Fort Worth Star-Telegram at www.star-telegram.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services




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