October 13, 2010
Varugan Amroyan is led in handcuffs from FBI headquarters in New York
Wednesday, Oct, 13, 2010. Amroyan is one of 73 people across the country
charged by federal prosecutors in a scheme to cheat Medicare out of $163 million,
the largest fraud by one criminal enterprise in the program's history,
U.S. authorities said Wednesday. (AP Photo/ Louis Lanzano)
NEW YORK (AP) - A vast network of Armenian gangsters and their associates
used phantom health care clinics and other means to try to cheat Medicare
out of $163 million, the largest fraud by one criminal enterprise in the
program's history, U.S. authorities said Wednesday.
Federal prosecutors in New York and elsewhere charged 73 people. Most of
the defendants were captured during raids Wednesday morning in New York City
and Los Angeles, but there also were arrests in New Mexico, Georgia and
The scheme's scope and sophistication "puts the traditional Mafia to
shame," U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said at a Manhattan news conference. "They
ran a veritable fraud franchise."
Unlike other cases involving crooked medical clinics bribing people to sign
up for unneeded treatments, the operation was "completely notional,"
Janice Fedarcyk, head of the FBI's New York office, said in a statement. "The
whole doctor-patient interaction was a mirage."
The operation was under the protection of an Armenian crime boss, known in
the former Soviet Union as a "vor," prosecutors said. The reputed boss,
Armen Kazarian, was in custody in Los Angeles.
Bharara said it was the first time a vor - "the rough equivalent of a
traditional godfather" - had been charged in a U.S. racketeering case.
Kazarian, 46, of Glendale, Calif., and two alleged ringleaders - Davit
Mirzoyan, 34, also of Glendale, and Robert Terdjanian, 35, of Brooklyn - were
named in an indictment charging racketeering conspiracy, bank fraud, money
laundering and identity theft.
The indictment accused Terdjanian and others of hatching other schemes
involving stolen credit cards, untaxed cigarettes and counterfeit Viagra. It
also alleges that during a meeting last year at a Brighton Beach restaurant,
Terdjanian pulled a knife on someone who owed him money "and threatened to
disembowel the individual if the debt was not paid."
A judge jailed Terdjanian without bail on Wednesday at a brief hearing.
Afterward, his attorney said his client denies the charges.
Kazarian and Mirzoyan were scheduled to appear in court Wednesday in Los
Authorities began the New York-based investigation after information on
2,900 Medicare patients in upstate New York - including Social Security
numbers and dates of birth - were reported stolen.
The defendants in the New York case also had stolen the identities of
doctors and set up 118 phantom clinics in 25 states, authorities said. The names
were used to submit fake bills for care that was never given, they said.
Some of the phony paperwork was a giveaway: It showed eye doctors doing
bladder tests; ear, nose and throat specialists performing pregnancy
ultrasounds; obstetricians testing for skin allergies; and dermatologists billing
for heart exams.
In the New York portion of the case, more $100 million in fraudulent bills
were submitted and Medicare paid out at least $35 million, sometimes by
wiring it to the clinics' banks accounts, investigators said.
Most of the defendants "were Armenian nationals or immigrants and many
maintained substantial ties to Armenia" and criminals there, the indictment
said. Couriers would often carry cash proceeds from the fraud back to Armenia,
Prosecutors were seeking forfeiture of real estate in Las Vegas; Palm
Springs, Calif.; and elsewhere, and of a 2007 Maserati and a 2006 Jaguar.
Oct 14 2010
Three Armenian companies - VIVACELL-MTS, Innova Solutions LLC,
VISTAA Plus LLC - have been awarded the 'Ruban d'Honneur' prize of
the European Business Awards, sponsored by the HSBC Bank.
Talking to NEWS.am, Aram Pinajyan, Head of HSBC Bank Armenia Commercial
banking, reported that 1,035 companies laid claims to the 'Ruban
d'Honneur' prize. Nine Armenian companies applied for the prize,
and three of them are among the 100 winners now.
The winners are selected on the basis of their financial accounts
and achievements during a year.
The 'Ruban d'Honneur' is awarded in each of the award categories:
The Infosys Business of the Year Award, The RSM International
Entrepreneur of the Year Award, The UKTI Award for Innovation, The
Award for Customer Focus, The HSBC Growth Strategy of the Year Award,
The Employer of the Year Award, The Award for Corporate Sustainability,
The Environmental Awareness Award and the Chairman's Choice Award.
All the 'Ruban d'Honneur' recipient are invited to attend the European
Business Awards Gala presentation ceremony at the Westin Hotel in
Paris on November 16.
Visit Armenia, It Is Beautiful
And tell everyone you know, the longest aerial tramway in the world is in Armenia to see the Monastery of Datev.
With a different slant:
A year of super-latives - world's oldest shoe found a couple of months back, Kara Hunge - Armenia's Stone Henge - is older than the UK's according to Cambridge academics and... may the list continue! :)
Choc - in case you didn't get the news