Federal Judge Hands Down Prison Sentences in Hospice Fraud Case

The U.S. Justice Department has sentenced two individuals linked to California hospices on alleged False Claims Act violations, among other charges.

Gayk Akhsharumov, manager and owner of San Gabriel Hospice & Palliative Care and Broadway Hospice, received a sentence of one year and one day in prison and was ordered to pay close to $9.2 million in restitution. Karen Sarkisyan must serve the same amount of time in prison and pay nearly $3.7 million.

Both parties were each charged in the U.S. Central District Court of California with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit health care fraud, health care fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering and money laundering for their roles in an alleged scheme to submit false Medicare claims.


“From around January 2018 through May 2021, Akhsharumov used his two hospice companies to defraud Medicare of approximately $9 million,” the U.S. Justice Department indicated in a statement. “During the scheme, Akhsharumov concealed his ownership and control over the hospice entities from Medicare, inserted nominee owners, paid kickbacks to patient recruiters, and profited from the scheme.”

Sarkisyan and Akhsharumov were also charged with wire fraud and theft of government property for their roles in an alleged scheme to fraudulently obtain funds from the Paycheck Protection Program, which the federal government established during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

“During the scheme, Sarkisyan submitted false and fraudulent Medicare enrollment forms for San Gabriel, falsely identifying a straw owner as the sole owner and manager and concealing the actual owners and managers,” the Justice Department reported.


Additionally, Sarkisyan and Akhsharumov allegedly submitted fraudulent PPP loan applications on behalf of San Gabriel Hospice to the Small Business Administration and to a financial institution and misused approximately $91,483 in other COVID-19 relief funds.

The U.S Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) and the FBI investigated the case. Fraud Section Trial Attorneys Patrick J. Queenan and Alexandra Michael served as prosecutors.

The Justice Department’s Health Care Fraud Strike Force Program has since March charged more than 5,400 defendants who collectively have billed federal health care programs and private insurers more than $27 billion.

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