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12 defendants taken into custody in August 2017 on federal drug trafficking charges that allege they diverted at least 2 million prescription pills – including oxycodone and other addictive and dangerous narcotics – to the black market. Two grand jury indictments claimed the activity took place through a series of sham Southern California clinics that periodically opened and closed in a “nomadic” style

Authorities have now announced that the ringleaders, two San Fernando Valley brothers have pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges, admitting that they conspired to distribute powerful narcotics such as hydrocodone and oxycodone via sham medical clinics that hired corrupt doctors who wrote fraudulent prescriptions to black market customers.

Minas Matosyan, a.k.a. “Maserati Mike,” 38, of Encino, and Hayk Matosyan, 32, of Granada Hills, each pleaded guilty on Monday to one count of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance. United States District Judge Philip S. Gutierrez has scheduled a July 15 sentencing hearing for the brothers, each of whom faces a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.

The Matosyan brothers were arrested in August 2017 pursuant to a grand jury indictment that charged 12 defendants in a scheme to divert at least 2 million prescription pills for sale on the black market. A September 10 trial date has been scheduled for most of the remaining defendants.

According to his plea agreement, Minas Matosyan admitted to controlling the sham clinics and hiring corrupt doctors who allowed their names to be used on fraudulent prescriptions in exchange for kickbacks. Minas Matosyan also admitted to stealing the identities of other doctors and then issuing prescriptions in those doctors’ names, either by personally acquiring prescription pads in the doctors’ names or by arranging for other co-conspirators to do so. The elder Matosyan also admitted to staffing receptionists at the clinics who would falsely verify the phony prescriptions when pharmacists called to verify them.

Minas Matosyan sold narcotic prescriptions to black market customers – either directly or through couriers – and also sold bulk quantities of hydrocodone and oxycodone he had acquired from phony prescriptions filled at pharmacies by other customers.

In May 2016, Minas Matosyan spoke with a doctor and offered him a “very lucrative position” where the doctor would “sit home making $20,000 a month doing nothing,” according to the plea agreement. After the doctor declined the offer, Matosyan stole the doctor’s identity, sending a co-conspirator a text message containing the doctor’s full name, medical license number and national provider identifier number that the co-conspirator used 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, the plea agreement states.

Hayk Matosyan admitted in his plea agreement that he aided the conspiracy by serving as a courier of oxycodone or related proceeds from the sale of oxycodone.

The investigation in this case is being conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration; Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation; the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – Office of Inspector General; the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, Pharmaceutical Crimes Unit; and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.

The primary investigative agencies received substantial assistance from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the Los Angeles Police Department, the California Department of Justice, and the Orange Police Department.

This matter is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Benjamin Barron of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force.