WASHINGTON, Oct. 13 (UPI) -- U.S. indictments unsealed Wednesday charge 73 people, some members of an Armenian-American crime group, with healthcare fraud of more than $163 million.
Fifty-two people were arrested Wednesday in what the U.S. Justice Department said was the largest Medicare fraud scheme ever investigated by the department.
The Justice Department said 54 of those charged were named in two indictments unsealed in New York City. Others were named in indictments in California, Georgia, New Mexico and Ohio.
The defendants are charged with numerous fraud activities, the department said in a statement, including multimillion-dollar schemes to defraud Medicare and insurance companies with fraudulent bills for medically unnecessary treatments or treatments never performed, the department said.
The indictments allege the defendants stole the identities of doctors and thousands of Medicare beneficiaries and operated at least 118 different phony clinics in 25 states to claim Medicare reimbursements.
"The international organized crime enterprise known as the Mirzoyan-Terdjanian fleeced the healthcare system through a wide range of money-making criminal fraud schemes," said Kevin Perkins, FBI assistant director of the Criminal Investigative Division. "The members and associates located throughout the United States and in Armenia, perpetrated a large-scale, nationwide Medicare scam that fraudulently billed Medicare for more than $100 million of unnecessary medical treatments using a series of phantom clinics. We want to restore the confidence in the nation's healthcare system and assure practitioners we will not stand by and let their identities be used for criminal gain."