Defendants Allegedly Charged Medicare Over $1 Million For Physician …

Defendants Allegedly Charged Medicare Over $1 Million For Physician Services, Equipment, and Tests Not Provided or Ordered By A Medicare Physician

SAN FRANCISCO – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – United States Attorney Kevin V. Ryan announced that a federal grand jury in San Francisco indicted the following individuals with conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud:

Harut Korakossian, 52, of Glendale, California

Dr. Wilson Fung, 44, of Camarillo, California

Dr. Edward Ridgill, 53, of Whittier, California

Daisy Cruz, 50, of San Francisco, California

Korakossian and Fung were also charged with eleven counts of health care fraud. The indictment was returned on February 14, 2006, and unsealed on February 22, 2006. The prosecution is the result of a two year investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General.

According to the indictment, these defendants conspired to file fraudulent claims with Medicare for physician services totaling approximately $488,375. The defendants also provided diagnostic testing facilities and durable medical equipment suppliers with prescriptions that were used to bill Medicare for over $1 million. These prescriptions falsely represented Dr. Fung as the Medicare beneficiaries’ treating physician and falsely stated that the diagnostic tests were medically necessary.

According to the indictment, Dr. Fung did not examine the beneficiaries and did not order the diagnostic tests or durable medical equipment. Dr. Ridgill is alleged to have fraudulently signed numerous orders, diagnoses, and prescriptions used to bill Medicare for allegedly necessary physician services, diagnostic tests, and medical equipment including power wheelchairs and electric beds. The clinic is alleged to have been set up and operated by Korakossian, who employed Cruz and others to handle the day to day operations of the clinic and to recruit Medicare beneficiaries.

Harut Korakossian was arrested on Wednesday morning in Glendale, California. He appeared that afternoon before a United States Magistrate Judge in the Central District of California for arraignment on the indictment and was ordered to be kept in custody. A detention hearing is scheduled for this afternoon at 3 p.m. Drs. Edward Ridgill and Wilson Fung are scheduled to appear before United States Magistrate Judge Bernard Zimmerman in San Francisco on March 8, 2006, for arraignment and the setting of bond conditions. An arrest warrant has been issued for Daisy Cruz. She is believed to be in the Phillipines and upon learning of these charges should turn herself in to authorities.

The indictment charges one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349, and eleven counts of health care fraud and aiding and abetting in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1347 and 2. The maximum statutory penalty for each count is 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, 3 years of supervised release and restitution. However, any sentences following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

An indictment contains only allegations against an individual and, as with all defendants, Harut Korakossian, Edward Ridgill, Wilson Fung, and Daisy Cruz must be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Ioana Petrou and Candace Kelly are the Assistant U.S. Attorneys who are prosecuting the case with the assistance of legal technician Tyle Doerr.

Further Information:

Case #: CR 06-0090 MHP

A copy of this press release and related court filings may be found on the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s website at www.usdoj.gov/usao/can.

Electronic court filings and further procedural and docket information are available at https://ecf.cand.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/login.plhttps://ecf.cand.uscourts.gov/.

Judges’ calendars with schedules for upcoming court hearings can be viewed on the court’s website at www.cand.uscourts.gov.

All press inquiries to the U.S. Attorney’s Office should be directed to Luke Macaulay at (415) 436-6757 or by email at Luke.Macaulay@usdoj.gov.