CA man gets 30 months in prison, hefty fine in clinic 'fraud' case

A San Diego man will serve 2½ years in custody after being ordered to repay the government nearly $1 million for what prosecutors say were phony Medicare claims for medically unnecessary and unsupervised tests on unsuspecting seniors, the FBI reported.

Gevorg “George” Kupelian was sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court to 30 months in custody and will have to pay Medicare $964,000 in restitution, the FBI announced this week.

In what the FBI described as a “Medicare billing mill,” Kupelian operated a clinic in El Centro, CA, and engaged a local physician as a “front” to use the doctor's Medicare billing number to issue claims. The man also used “cappers” to lure the seniors to the clinic, where they were exposed to “gauntlets” of needless and unsupervised tests for conditions such as breathing and bladder problems, EKGs, and ultrasounds. Certain other tests also were allegedly billed but never provided.

The seniors were given new shoes or free lunch vouchers in exchange for providing their Medicare information, according to authorities. Kupelian also allegedly hired an unlicensed physician assistant to write progress notes or order tests.