PHILADELPHIA – George Baginyan, 33, of Glendale, California, was sentenced late last night to two years in prison for operating a fraudulent clinic and defrauding Medicare. Baginyan was the owner of New Era Health Center Inc. (“New Era”), a purported clinic that was located near the Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia. Between December 2008 and October 2009, Baginyan used the National Provider Identification number (NPI) of an elderly and frail doctor of osteopathy to bill Medicare for medical services and tests, making it appear that the doctor had provided those services and tests when he had not. The doctor had, in fact, never set foot in New Era.
In total, Baginyan caused the submission of fraudulent bills to Medicare totaling more than $250,000, which resulted in payments from Medicare totaling $132,848.81. On October 15, 2012, Baginyan pleaded guilty to 10 counts of health care fraud and 10 counts of making false claims to the government. At his plea hearing, Baginyan admitted that he was fully aware of the fraud he was committing when he submitted the phony claims.
In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Court Judge Mitchell S. Goldberg ordered restitution to Medicare in the amount of $132,848.81, a special assessment of $2,000, and three years of supervised release.
“George Baginyan traveled from California to set up a fraudulent Medicare business in Philadelphia where he stole a physician’s identity; submitted false claims for unnecessary, substandard medical procedures; and robbed our Medicare program of more than $100,000,” said Special Agent-in-Charge Nick DiGiulio with the Inspector General’s Office of the United States Department of Health and Human Services in Philadelphia. “Other fraudsters should make note of the sentence in this case and should know that HHS-OIG will continue to pursue those who steal from our government health insurance programs.”
The case was investigated by the United States Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General Office of Investigations. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mary E. Crawley.