The world is facing a very tough time right now. The global pandemic has taken hundreds of thousands of lives and the majority of us are still doing our best to stop the spread of COVID-19. It needs to be noted, however, that our nation continues to face a variety of other harsh circumstances. Among them is the opioid crisis. It continues to take lives in spite of these deaths not always making news headlines.
One of the mandates of the Allegiant Experts Blog is to highlight the various instances of health care fraud that exist in the United States. By doing so, we bring awareness to acts of crime that – again – aren’t necessarily headline news. You aren’t likely to read about Minas Matosyan in many news publications, websites or social media feeds. This is why we’re blogging about him today.
Matosyan receives 108-month prison sentence.
As reported by the Central District of California branch of the United States Department of Justice, the 40 year-old Encino man has been sentenced to nine years in prison for his role in an opioid conspiracy. According to the DoJ, Matosyan (also known as “Maserati Mike”) led a conspiracy to distribute opioids through sham clinics and corrupt doctors.
Arrested in August of 2017, Matosyan pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance in April of 2019. In the case, which also charged 12 other defendants, Matosyan admitted to controlling sham clinics and hiring corrupt doctors. These doctors allowed their names to be used on fraudulent prescriptions in exchange for kickbacks.
The scheme set out to get 2 million controlled prescription pills for sale on the black market.
As the DoJ reports, Matosyan and his co-conspirators stole the identities of other doctors and then issued prescriptions in those doctors’ names. This was done either by personally acquiring prescription pads in the doctors’ names or by arranging for other co-conspirators to do so.
“As part of the scheme, Matosyan staffed receptionists at the clinics who would falsely verify the phony prescriptions to pharmacists who called to check on their veracity,” the report details, “He also sold narcotic prescriptions to black market customers – either directly or through couriers – and bulk quantities of hydrocodone and oxycodone he had acquired from phony prescriptions filled at pharmacies by other customers.”
The report goes on to provide a detailed account of an incident occurring in May of 2015.
According to Matosyan’s plea agreement, he offered a doctor a “very lucrative position”. The doctor would be able to “sit home making $20,000 a month doing nothing.” The doctor, however, declined the offer. Matosyan then stole the doctor’s identity and sent a co-conspirator a text message containing the doctor’s information.
Included in the message were the doctor’s full name, medical license number and national provider identifier number. The co-conspirator then used this information to order prescription pads in the doctor’s name. “Over the next two months, Matosyan and his co-conspirators sold fraudulent prescriptions, purportedly issued by the victim doctor, for at least 9,450 pills of oxycodone and 990 pills of hydrocodone,” reveals the DoJ report.
Are you an attorney who is currently trying a health care fraud case?
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