Medical imaging center CEO found guilty of healthcare fraud

2021 07 06 20 55 6258 Prison Jail Money 400

The CEO of several Southern California-based medical imaging companies was found guilty on July 2 by a federal jury of running massive healthcare fraud through the state workers' compensation system.

Sam Sarkis Solakyan was accused of running a scheme in which more than $250 million in claims were fraudulently submitted through the system for medical services procured through bribes and kickbacks to physicians and others, according to federal investigators. He was originally arrested in 2018.

According to evidence presented at the trial, Solakyan and other conspirators obscured the true nature of their financial relationships with physicians to conceal the bribes and kickbacks, including by entering into various sham agreements such as contracts for "marketing," "administrative services," and "scheduling." However, the money Solakyan paid amounted to volume-based, per-MRI-scan bribes and kickbacks to induce physicians to refer and continue referring patients to Solakyan's companies.

Solakyan paid some $8.6 million to a pair of "recruiters" who were tasked with obtaining referrals from referring physicians. These payments were also disguised from patients and health insurers, according to federal investigators. Both recruiters pleaded guilty in 2016 to charges relating to the scheme.

U.S. District Judge Cynthia A. Bashant has scheduled an October 4 sentencing hearing, in which Solakyan will face a statutory maximum sentence of 240 years in federal prison.

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