FBI Arrests 5 in $15M Hospice Fraud Plot

The FBI has arrested five people in connection with a $15 million hospice fraud and money laundering scheme.

The arrests took place in California, a state that has been rife with hospice fraud in recent years, along with Arizona, Texas and Nevada. Petros Fichidzhyan, Juan Carlos Esparza and Karpis Srapyan allegedly owned and operated a series of sham hospice companies that they falsely claimed were owned by “foreign nationals,” according to the U.S. Justice Department.

“The defendants allegedly used the foreign nationals’ identifying information to open bank accounts, to sign property leases, and, by Fichidzhyan, to make phone calls to Medicare, and submitted false and fraudulent claims to Medicare for hospice services,” the Justice Department indicated in a statement. “In submitting the false claims, the defendants misappropriated the identifying information of doctors, claiming to Medicare that the doctors had determined hospice services were necessary, when in fact the purported recipients of these hospice services were not terminally ill and had never requested nor received care from the sham hospices.”


The two other defendants — Susanna Harutyunyan and Mihran Panosyan — allegedly were involved in laundering the funds the sham hospices fraudulently obtained from Medicare. The Justice Department has accused the five individuals of spending the money on real estate, vehicles and other goods and services.  

Fichidzhyan, Esparza and Srapyan have been charged with conspiracy to commit health care fraud and aggravated identity theft. Fichidzhyan and Esparza are also charged with health care fraud. All of the defendants are charged with conspiracy to launder money and money laundering. 

Fichidzhyan has also been charged with making false statements. If convicted, all five defendants face a maximum penalty of at least 40 years in prison. Fichidzhyan, Esparza and Srapyan face an additional mandatory minimum of two years in prison on the aggravated identity theft count.


The FBI and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) are investigating the case, which is being prosecuted by the Justice Department’s criminal division.

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