Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Fugitive Profiles

OIG Fugitive: Poul Thorsen

Poul Thorsen
  • From approximately February 2004 until February 2010, Poul Thorsen executed a scheme to steal grant money awarded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). CDC had awarded grant money to Denmark for research involving infant disabilities, autism, genetic disorders, and fetal alcohol syndrome. CDC awarded the grant to fund studies of the relationship between autism and the exposure to vaccines, the relationship between cerebral palsy and infection during pregnancy, and the relationship between developmental outcomes and fetal alcohol exposure.
  • Thorsen worked as a visiting scientist at CDC, Division of Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, before the grant was awarded.
  • The initial grant was awarded to the Danish Medical Research Council. In approximately 2007, a second grant was awarded to the Danish Agency for Science, Technology, and Innovation. Both agencies are governmental agencies in Denmark. The research was done by the Aarhaus University and Odense University Hospital in Denmark.
  • Thorsen allegedly diverted over $1 million of the CDC grant money to his own personal bank account. Thorsen submitted fraudulent invoices on CDC letterhead to medical facilities assisting in the research for reimbursement of work allegedly covered by the grants. The invoices were addressed to Aarhaus University and Sahlgrenska University Hospital. The fact that the invoices were on CDC letterhead made it appear that CDC was requesting the money from Aarhaus University and Sahlgrenska University Hospital although the bank account listed on the invoices belonged to Thorsen.
  • In April 2011, Thorsen was indicted on 22 counts of Wire Fraud and Money Laundering.
  • According to bank account records, Thorsen purchased a home in Atlanta, a Harley Davidson motorcycle, an Audi automobile, and a Honda SUV with funds that he received from the CDC grants.
  • Thorsen is currently in Denmark and is awaiting extradition to the United States.                                                                                                                                                                                          

    OIG Fugitive: Patricia Chisanga

    Patricia Chisanga
  • On November 7, 2012, Patricia Mubanga Chisanga was indicted on charges of health care fraud and conspiracy to commit health care fraud. Previously, Chisanga's co-conspirator Uche Ben Odunzeh plead guilty one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and was .
  • Emerald Medical Services (Emerald) is a durable medical equipment company operating in the District of Columbia and purportedly providing wheelchairs and other medical equipment to Medicaid patients.
  • Chisanga is listed as the Vice President of Operations on the business records for Emerald.
  • Investigators believe that authorization forms necessary for the submission of claims to Medicaid were altered after they were signed by the prescribing physician. These forms were allegedly used by Emerald to bill Medicaid for more expensive equipment than was actually provided to the patients.
  • Emerald would provide patients with a lower level power wheelchair when, in fact, a higher level wheelchair was authorized.
  • From approximately January 2008 through March 2011, Emerald collected $480,000 from Medicaid for durable medical equipment that was never provided.
  • OIG Special Agents confronted Chisanga about her participation in the scheme. After this confrontation, she fled the United States to Ethiopia, then took a flight to her native Zambia.
  • Chisanga remains at large.                                                                                                                                                                                            

    Lilit Galstyan (aka Nina Galstyan), Julieta Ghazaryan, and Marine Movsisyan

    Lilit Galstyan Julieta Ghazaryan Marine Movsisyan
  • In September 2010, Lilit Galstyan, Julieta Ghazaryan, and Marine Movsisyan were indicted on charges of health care fraud, conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Galstyan, Ghazaryan, and Movsisyan, along with their co-conspirators, allegedly billed Medicare, using stolen provider identities, for more than $40 million in false claims for services that were never rendered.
  • According to the indictment, Galstyan, Ghazaryan, Movsisyan and their co-conspirators allegedly stole personal identifying information of physicians and Medicare beneficiaries to submit claims to Medicare for equipment for beneficiaries whom the physicians never saw. They also allegedly employed visa holders from eastern European countries and used the visa holders' identities to submit false claims to Medicare for services never rendered.
  • Although the crime ring was based in the Los Angeles area, investigators believe that the trio and their co-conspirators traveled throughout the country to open fake businesses. These "false fronts" were opened in over 40 States and were located far from the physicians' actual practices in order to conceal the false billings from the physicians. The locations served as "mail drops" so that the conspirators could receive documents used to further the scheme, including Medicare correspondence and bank checks, according to the indictment.
  • Investigators believe that the trio and their co-conspirators received more than $19 million in reimbursements from Medicare for services that were never provided. A large portion of the profits from the alleged schemes were laundered through shell businesses owned by the visa holders, according to the indictment.
  • Co-conspirators Eduard Oganesyan and Karen Chilyan previously pled guilty and were sentenced to 11 years' and 8 years' incarceration, respectively. In addition, Oganesyan and Chilyan were ordered to pay joint and several restitution in the amounts of $10.6 million and $7.7 million, respectively. A third co-conspirator, Arus Gyulbudakyan, also previously pled guilty and was sentenced to 13 months' imprisonment and ordered to pay $500,000 in restitution, joint and several. Gyulbudakyan will be deported to Armenia after she has served her time in jail.
  • Galstyan, Ghazaryan, and Movsisyan remain at large.

OIG Fugitive: Jose Argos

Jose Argos
  • In September 2007, Jose Argos was indicted on charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States, health care fraud, submission of false claims, money laundering conspiracy, and money laundering. According to court documents, Argos allegedly caused the submission of approximately $2.7 million in claims to Medicare for durable medical equipment (DME) that his company never provided to Medicare patients.
  • Argos was president and registered agent of MedStar Services, a DME company in Miami, Florida. Investigators believe that Argos conspired with OIG Most Wanted Fugitive Gustavo Smith and others to defraud Medicare by submitting false claims for reimbursement.
  • Argos, Smith, and their co-conspirators acquired MedStar and obtained a Medicare provider number to submit claims to Medicare for DME that the company purportedly provided. The defendants received approximately $1.5 million in reimbursements from Medicare for DME that was never prescribed or provided to Medicare patients. Smith and Argos then attempted to transfer the proceeds to a foreign country.
  • Both Argos and Smith remain fugitives from justice. 

OIG Fugitive: Vivian Yusuf

Vivian Yusuf
  • In March 2011, Vivian Yusuf was indicted on charges of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, health care fraud, and aggravated identity theft. Investigators believe that Yusuf and her co-conspirators billed Medicare for more than $3.4 million for durable medical equipment (DME) that was neither medically necessary nor prescribed by a physician.
  • Yusuf owned and operated Ivy Health Care Supply, a DME company based in Stafford, Texas. According to court records, Yusuf and her co-conspirators allegedly improperly acquired Medicare patient information to submit false claims to Medicare. The defendants then forged physicians' signatures on prescriptions and certificates of medical necessity (CMN). They also altered prescriptions and CMNs after they had been signed by physicians. The defendants then billed Medicare for power wheelchairs, orthotic equipment, and other medical supplies that were not prescribed or otherwise authorized by a physician, were not medically necessary, and were not requested by the beneficiaries.
  • Investigators believe that Yusuf and her co-conspirators falsely billed Medicare for claims for nearly 800 Medicare patients, primarily located in Texas and Louisiana. Based on these claims, Ivy Health Care Supply was reimbursed approximately $1.6 million from Medicare. Yusuf and her co-conspirators allegedly diverted these funds from her business for their own personal use and benefit, as well as that of others.
  • Federal authorities believe that Yusuf fled the United States in January 2011 and is currently residing in Nigeria. 

Anush Sahakyan & Karo Gotti Blkhoyan (aka Blkhoyan Karo Gotti)

Anush Sahakyan Karo Gotti Blkhoyan
  • In August 2012, Karo Gotti Blkhoyan and Anush Sahakyan were indicted for conspiracy to commit health care fraud, health care fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering. According to the indictment, Blkhoyan, Sahakyan and their co-conspirators billed Medicare for approximately $1.1 million in false and fraudulent claims for services never rendered and were paid more than $300,000.
  • According to the indictment, Blkhoyan, Sahakyan, and their co-conspirators conspired to defraud Medicare. Together, they owned and operated Pinnacle Group Services (PGS), a medical clinic located in Columbia, South Carolina, from October 2009 until August 2010. PGS was a sham entity; no patients ever went there and the identities of physicians were stolen to bill Medicare for services.
  • The co-conspirators have been arrested and are awaiting the judicial process.
  • Blkhoyan and Sahakyan remain at large and are believed to be in Los Angeles, California. 

Osman E. Yousif, Amir Bala Elamin, Mudar A.M. Ismail, and
Elsiddig H. Elfaki

Osman Yousif Amir Elamin Mudar Ismail Elsiddig Elfaki
  • In March 2008, Osman E. Yousif, Amir Bala Elamin, Mudar A.M. Ismail, and Elsiddig H. Elfaki were indicted on charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States, health care fraud, wire fraud, mail fraud, and aiding and abetting. According to the indictment, the co-conspirators were paid approximately $970,000 by Medicaid.
  • These co-conspirators created six ambulette companies in Youngstown, Ohio, that appeared to be distinct, separate companies. However, they acted as a single ambulette transportation company, sharing provider billing information, business and/or residential addresses, transportation services, patient lists, and money.
  • Yousif was the owner of ON Time Transportation, Elamin was the owner of Niles Transportation, Ismail was the owner of Nobility Express Transportation, and Elfaki was the owner of Townjet Transportation.
  • These co-conspirators allegedly shared or rotated Medicaid patients to create the impression that the patients were receiving ambulette transportation from different providers.
  • Ismail was convicted after a jury trial and sentenced. He fled before reporting to prison. Yousif,
  • Elamin, and Elfaki fled prior to trial. All the co-conspirators remain at large.
  • Investigators believe that they are residing in Sudan. 

OIG Fugitive: Won Suk Lee

Won Suk Lee
  • In July 2012, Won Suk Lee was indicted on charges of health care fraud, aiding and abetting, and causing an act to be done. According to the indictment, Lee and his co-conspirators are responsible for approximately $2.1 million in false claims submitted to Medicare.
  • Lee owned and operated Won Suk Lee Acupuncture and Herb, Inc. (aka Huntington Park Acupuncture Clinic and Variety Choice, Inc.), two clinics located in Huntington Park, a suburb of Los Angeles. Lee, an acupuncturist, and his staff allegedly provided acupuncture and massage services to Medicare patients from August 2009 through February 2011. However, these services were not covered by Medicare.
  • Investigators believe that Lee provided Medicare beneficiaries' health identification cards and other personal and medical information to California Neuro-Rehabilitation Institute, Inc. (CNR), a clinic enrolled as a Medicare provider for physical therapy services.
  • CNR then allegedly submitted false claims to Medicare for Medicare-covered services, such as physical therapy, even though the beneficiaries did not receive any services from CNR. Lee's co-conspirators created patient files for the beneficiaries that included false documentation for covered services allegedly provided at CNR to support the fraudulent Medicare claims. CNR received approximately $1.2 million from Medicare for these fraudulent claims.
  • Lee remains a fugitive and is believed to be residing in South Korea.

OIG Fugitive: Iftikhar Ghouri

Iftikhar Ghouri
  • In May 2009, Iftikhar Ghouri was indicted on charges of Health Care Fraud, Payment of Kickbacks, and Criminal Forfeiture. Investigators believe that Ghouri and his co-conspirators submitted approximately $9 million in fraudulent claims to Medicare for physical and occupational therapy services and treatments that were not provided or were medically unnecessary.
  • According to court documents, Ghouri operated All American Rehab Care, Inc. (AARC), a purported physical and occupational therapy provider. Ghouri allegedly paid kickbacks to health care professionals to persuade them to refer patients to AARC for therapy.
  • Additionally, Ghouri and his co-conspirators allegedly created false physical and occupational therapy files using information that they either purchased or stole from Medicare beneficiaries. The files were then given to approved Medicare providers, who billed Medicare for physical and occupational therapy services that were not provided.
  • Investigators believe that Ghouri went to Canada in September 2007 and has since traveled to Pakistan, where he was born and may be currently residing.

OIG Fugitive: Asher Vanounu

Asher Vanounu
  • In May 2004, a criminal indictment was filed against Asher Vanounu, charging him with health care fraud. Investigators believe that Vanounu billed Medicare for approximately $817,700 and received approximately $258,500 in reimbursements for durable medical equipment (DME) that either was not provided to patients or was not medically necessary.
  • Vanounu owned and operated Valley View Medical Supply, a DME supplier in Las Vegas. According to the indictment, Vanounu allegedly caused fraudulent bills to be submitted to Medicare that falsely claimed that DME was provided to Medicare beneficiaries, when in fact it was not. The DME billed to Medicare included back braces, leg braces, powered air mattresses, commode chairs, and semi electric hospital beds.
  • Investigators believe that Vanounu fraudulently listed the same referring physician on all the DME claims that Valley View submitted to Medicare. However, the physician never examined the patients, nor did the physician certify the medical necessity for the items ordered.
  • Investigators believe Vanounu fled the United States and remains a fugitive at-large. 

OIG Fugitive: Pedro Luis Perez

Pedro Perez
  • In June 2012, Pedro Luis Perez was indicted on charges of health care fraud and aggravated identity theft.
  • RP Best Choice Corp., a durable medical equipment (DME) company, owned by Pedro Luis Perez, fraudulently billed for Medicare patients who lived out of State and had never been to Texas. The majority of the patients were from Florida. Perez's company billed Medicare by falsely claiming that doctors in McAllen, Texas, whose billing information he had stolen, had referred their patients to RP Best Choice for DME.
  • From January 2010 through August 2011, RP Best Choice Corp. was paid over $520,000 in fraudulent Medicare reimbursements for equipment never provided to patients.
  • Investigators believe that Perez never resided in McAllen, Texas, and operated his business from Miami, Florida.
  • Perez remains at large and is believed to be in Cuba. 


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