33 year old Artak Ovsepian, a Tujunga man who was one of the leaders of a prescription drug conspiracy that used a sham Glendale medical clinic has been sentenced to 15 years in federal prison. At the sentencing, U.S. District Judge S. James Otero called Ovsepian’s actions “despicable” and “horrific” and said that the scheme “preyed on some of those most vulnerable members of society, from the mentally ill, to down-and-out veterans, to elderly victims whose identities were stolen, which then interfered with their ability to obtain medical treatment that they truly needed,”
Ovsepian oversaw the acquisition of expensive anti-psychotic drugs with bogus prescriptions and then re-billing the government for the medications over and over, said the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles. He is among 16 people who have been convicted in relation to the scheme run out of Manor Medical Imaging in Glendale. The investigation was called “Operation Psyched Out.” The government called it the first in the nation involving an organized scheme to defraud government health care programs through fraudulent claims for expensive anti-psychotic medications.
Operators of Manor Medical Imaging employed an unlicensed medical practitioner, Nuritsa Grigoryan, of Glendale, to prescribe “expensive” anti-psychotic medications using a licensed doctor’s name, and later billed and rebilled the government for the drugs, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. After the prescriptions were filled, the drugs were sold on the black market and redistributed to pharmacies, where they’d be used in new claims filed to Medicare and Medi-Cal.
Two others, including physician Kenneth Johnson, 48, of Ladera Heights, and Nuritsa Grigoryan, 49, of Glendale, were also convicted after last year’s trial, and about a dozen others have been convicted in relation to the scheme. Johnson, the doctor who pre-signed thousands of blank prescriptions that were later filled out by co-conspirators, is slated to be sentenced in November. Grigoryan reportedly fled the country after her conviction and remains a fugitive. Previously, Lianna “Lili” Ovsepian, 34, of Tujunga, another leader of the ring and manager and owner of Manor, was sentenced to eight years in prison after pleading guilty to health care fraud charges.
Other defendants who were charged in this case include a Pasadena couple whose Huntington Pharmacy in San Marino saw its business grow dramatically due its affiliation with Manor Medical. The owner of the pharmacy, Phic Lim, is scheduled for trial in this case in on September 29, 2015. His wife, Theana Khou, previously pleaded guilty as part of a joint resolution with another case filed against her and her husband.