NEW YORK (AP) — A vast network of Armenian gangsters and their associates used phantom health care clinics and other means to try to cheat Medicare out of $163 million, the largest fraud by one criminal enterprise in the program’s history, U.S. authorities said Wednesday.

Federal prosecutors in New York and elsewhere charged 73 people. Most of the defendants were captured during raids Wednesday morning in New York City and Los Angeles, but there also were arrests in New Mexico, Georgia and Ohio.

The scheme’s scope and sophistication “puts the traditional Mafia to shame,” U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said at a Manhattan news conference. “They ran a veritable fraud franchise.”

The operation was under the protection of an Armenian crime boss, known in the former Soviet Union as a “vor,” prosecutors said. The reputed boss, Armen Kazarian, was in custody in Los Angeles.

Southern Californians charged in three separate indictments include Pogos Satamyan, of Glendale; Vachagan Dishchian, of Van Nuys; Vahe Dischian, of Van Nuys; Andranik Satamyan, of Glendale; Haroutyoun Dischian, of Van Nuys; Grisha Sayadyan, of Glendale and Allen Sayadyan, of Glendale. Three more suspects are at large.

Bharara said it was the first time a vor — “the rough equivalent of a traditional godfather” — had been charged in a U.S. racketeering case.

Kazarian and other defendants were to appear in court later Wednesday on charges including racketeering conspiracy, bank fraud, money laundering and identity theft.

Authorities began the investigation after information on 2,900 Medicare patients in upstate New York — including Social Security numbers and dates of birth — were reported stolen.

The defendants also had stolen the identities of doctors and set up 118 phantom clinics in 25 states, authorities said. The names were used to submit fake bills for care that was never given, they said.

Prosecutors said the phony paperwork showed eye doctors doing bladder tests; ear, nose and throat specialists performing pregnancy ultrasounds; and obstetricians testing for skin allergies.

Unlike other cases involving crooked medical clinics bribing people to sign up for unneeded treatments, the operation was “completely notional,” Janice Fedarcyk, head of the FBI’s New York office, said in a statement. “The whole doctor-patient interaction was a mirage.”

In the New York portion of the case, more $100 million in fraudulent bills were submitted and Medicare paid out at least $35 million, investigators said.

(TM and © Copyright 2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (88)
  1. Rob W says:

    Are Armenians any better than illegals?
    Of course not
    All ethnicities have their share

  2. parcher says:

    nothing will happen here. just like those rabbis who got caught in jersey selling human kidneys, this will just go away and fade. how, pay offs. this will silence the media for sure.

  3. oscer mayer winnerlofe says:


  4. oscer mayer winnerlofe says:

    pneedleman eat my sweaty ball sack

  5. take our city back says:

    they are a vile people. they have no sense of civic responsibility. their behavior is just absolutely deplorable i’m still trying to wrap my head around how they walk thinking they have a free pass to be rude and obnoxious to everyone. none of them are really tough as they make themselves out to be.

    1. ffff says:

      @take our city back
      Don’t generalize, you little prick!!!

    2. WaLLy says:

      The Armenians I know are polite,kind, giving and generous
      When you look at someone that hard and hate
      it may be a mirrors reflection of your
      poor manners and attitude

    3. Reader says:

      It is arrogant of you to generalize. Please grab a newspaper or turn on the news. See how many crimes are committed in the Los Angeles county, daily. Then come back and say how many of those were committed by Armenians. Generalizing an entire ethnic group, doesn’t seem correct. I can name many people who are non-Armenains who act just the same way. Maybe you need to broaden your horizons and meet others who act the same. Then you will learn that there are good and bads in every culture.

  6. brave new world says:

    No due diligence. Government is responsible!!!

  7. Armen Akopian says:

    “pneedlemann” ———–> looser, hater, and low life? get a life and stop publicizing generalized racial comments. Perhaps, u shall clean up your dirty spirit… u 2 “tad” nd “Rob W”. People with your mentality and” cowardenss” are the ones who lag America behind. Gotta have something to say to someone? Say it on the face if u have the guts (of course u don’t).

    1. Rob W says:

      If you READ
      I think you can COMPREHEND
      My POINT was
      We are all EQUAL
      Good and Bad in ALL peoples
      Thank you

  8. Mikey says:

    The Turks know how to deal with them.

    1. Jeffro says:

      The Turks are the most disgusting people on the planet. They’re responsible for the genocide of several ethnic groups. Fuk the Turks.

      1. Rob W says:

        You don’t bring up the fact how the Armenians treated Turks yrs before
        Look it up
        Both sides are killers

    2. gary g says:

      How dare you make such an insulting comment you ignorant simpleton! You would not have the balls to say that face to face with an Armenian. Turks got away with genocide and land grabbing, NEVER AGAIN! so keep your stupidity to yourself or use your full name tough Guy!

      1. Ignorant Fool says:

        I guess you didn’t look up what Armenians did to others in Azerbaijan
        I guess you can’t consider it genocide
        Just mass murder

      2. WaHabe says:

        Never Again, we said after 1918
        Yet it happened again WW2
        and again Bosnia and again Dafur
        and continues

  9. Shant K says:

    I’m Armenian and I agree with all the anti-Armenian sentiments. I’ve been so embarrassed over and over again with my culture. Most Armenians need to realize they aren’t back in their old countries and respect their new land, and if they don’t like it they should go back. Personally I’ve abandoned my culture and adopted the American lifestyle.

    1. xxxxxxxxxian says:

      You can be American and proud of your culture
      Just be thoughtful and courteous towards others

    2. Hovo says:

      You are a trader in spirit. Go hang yourself. You should change your name to Shawnty you prick!

      1. H&H says:

        We need more people like Shant K

    3. Shantik says:

      Shant go stuff yourr face with falafel so you can shut

    4. Reader says:

      I am glad you have adapted the American lifestle, as have I, but to agree with the others who bash your ethnicity isn’t correct. Armenians just like others do act out of line many times, but look at the news, how many other ethnicities do you see charged with crimes. You know what is going on in your ethnic group, because you are part of the culture, you hear about Armenians acting up, from your peers. Imagine you lived in a city full of another ethnic group, you would see their wrong doings and hear about their unfavorable acts. But it is sad to read that you agree with others who bash your ethnic group. Think about the Armenian history and how hard your ancestors have fought for you to be here today.

    5. Tigran says:

      Poor you…. If one is embarassed by his roots, he is jus no one…. Change your name, you do not deserve to have such a good Armenian name. Idiot!!!

    6. A PROUD ARMENIAN says:

      You don’t deserve to be an ARMENIAN anyway because you don’t know who Armenians are. Learn some history and you will learn that till today the whole world is using many inventions made by ARMENIAN geniuses. There are so many ARMENIAN talents being appreciated all over the world. Shame on you and your parents for not knowing who you are and where you come from.

    7. MGT says:

      shant why do you even call yourself an Armenian? Call yourself a turk so you won’t be embarresed of us…

  10. Narine says:

    In every culture there is good and bad people. you dont have a right to talk about armenians that way. First start knowing them then start talking. You dont have permission to talk about armenians that way. So if you dont know anything then dont talk. Im armenian and im proud to be one. And you have to say sorry for saying something so rude.

  11. Bill from 91302 says:

    Hi Kim and Kourtney!

  12. Shant K says:

    Typical Armenians that have their head in the sand. You aren’t really being honest with yourself. I mean, yes, not ALL Armenians are the rude ones in Burbank and Glendale but there’s enough of them to make the rest of us look bad. And therefore we shouldn’t be shocked when odars (non-Armenians) have a negative view of us. I mean you all sound so self righteous about Armenians when you’re posting in an article about how a gang of Armenians just pulled a multi-million dollar fraud scheme. Come to grips with the fact that our culture as a whole isn’t as great as some of us were brought up to think it was.

    1. Hovo says:

      Get your head out of the sand you fake poser.

    2. H&H says:

      Extremeism, Nationalism
      It all leads to hate
      Free Palestine from Zionist, who should know better
      You put someone in a cage for 61 yrs
      you aren’t taming them

  13. Ari says:

    wow, such racism. and this great ol country has progressed?

  14. Shank K says:

    Hovo, I’m not a “trader” I’m just a realist. Btw, I love how all the other Armenians that have posted have so many spelling and grammatical errors. It’s so stupid that I’m expected to love my culture simply because I was born into it. Frankly I was raised in the US and I identify with that culture way more than the Armenian culture, and people that can’t appreciate that should leave and go back to where they came from.

    1. Hovo says:

      This isn’t a spelling bee you fruit. You were probably a teachers pet growing up and picked on as a kid. Don’t try to escape who you are. Try to contribute what you can to the community to make it better. Coward!

    2. Tigran says:

      Shant, I feel sorry for you. Honestly… I think your parents should be embarassed by what they have raised. You are just an ignorant idiot who betrays his own nationality and roots, simply because it is easier and more comfortable to bend and adapt to new rules completely forgeting who you are. Commenting on grammatical errors in posts is just pathetic and loser strategy… Honestly, Shant, change your name and become something less meaningful, which will help you integrate in that society even more…

      1. WaHabe says:

        Culture is not Nationality
        Freedom is not Ignorance

  15. Shirley says:

    I am of Armenian descent and I can truly say that some of the Glendale Armenians have disgraced all ‘hyes.’

  16. Robin R says:

    I am not Armenian. I live in Tujunga, CA above Glendale. I understand the comments regarding the fact that SOME armenian individuals are rude and hold themselves away from the other cultures of the area. However… I have met and appreciated some Armenians who were wonderful people. People who believed in God and followed the rules of this country and believed and honored America. As with all cultures there are good and there are bad. It isn’t fair to judge a whole culture by the actions of some. I DO understand however, the frustration of those who deal with the rude Armenians who think themselves better than the rest of us. We ARE all American’s and they should show the proper respect for all of us. That is what makes us a great country.

    1. Unity says:

      Americans should come together as diverse group
      not a divided group

      United We Stand

    2. Hoken says:

      No one beats the French for rude

  17. gina says:

    I agree with Shant K. These people are smart but don’t know how to put their brains to good use….Just think what they could accomplish if they went to school and made something of themselves. I am embarrassed to be Armenian

    1. Mike says:

      Every race has some bad ones. What can you do?

    2. MGT says:

      gina don’t be embarressed just change your name because believe me WE Armenians don’t need a looser like you

  18. Phil says:

    Armenian, Italians, Russian, Serbs, Israeli
    Irish, Sicilian, Ukrainian, Chinese,Filipino,Mexican
    Korean,Japanese Yakuza, Nigerian, Haitian
    You could list the whole UN
    It’s no biggie

  19. James K says:

    15 years ago it was Auto insurance fraud
    7 years ago it’s Real Estate mortgage / appraisal fraud

  20. G Wessington says:

    The amazing disappearing posts
    So much for freedom of speech
    Reading the ridiculous was entertaining
    but agree that some people incite and fuel hate

  21. Grady says:

    Many of the Armenians I know are in their 40’s, live with Mom & sell Nose Candy to put a roof over moms head. You knock on their door to try and create a peaceful resolution and they go 3rd world on you while MOM clutches her chest like Fred Sanford.

    1. WaLLy says:

      Well you must know the wrong people

    2. gina says:

      this is sooooo funny! I am Armenian and I can’t stop laughing..hahahaheeee!. What wit you have

    3. BOBB-E says:

      You knock on door to buy Nose Candy?

  22. Ryder says:

    Azerbaijan and Armenia
    At the end of World War I, it was the turn of the Turks of Azerbaijan to be attacked. Allied with Bolsheviks in Baku, Armenian nationalist forced nearly half of the Turkish population of Baku to flee the city. Between 8 and 10,000 Muslims, almost all Turks, were killed in Baku alone. The Armenian guerilla leader Andranik destroyed villages in Nahçivan and Southern Azerbaijan, forcing more than 60,000 Turkish refugees to flee.
    420 villages were destroyed. Hundreds of villages were ruined and many thousand more Turks were killed in Kars Province. Two-thirds of the Turks of Erivan Province disappeared. Turks took revenge in Baku and elsewhere, but it was Turks who most suffered mortality and exile.

    1. MGT says:

      ryder where do you get this cartoon information. Because per real history that is not what happened. why don’t you take a real book and read real history.

  23. OJ says:

    What do you get when you combine:

    4 Butterball Turkeys

    2 Potato Sacks

    2 Halloween Wigs?


  24. mike says:

    should have let the turks finish the job

    armenians espically the ones in GLENDALE who rip off everyone and drive like idiots

    their women are ugly fat hairy beasts

    they all are on medi cal and suck from the system

    they demand to be taken to the er for a runny nose

    1. Sam says:

      Haha. Learn to spell-Especially
      Armenian known as most beautiful women in the world
      mike you only have one brain cell,
      damaged as it is

    2. Freud says:

      Sorry you’ve had such a poor life experience.
      You must really hate yourself , its called transferance.
      One day you will wake up and either
      Become what you hate, or love what you once hated

    3. Reader says:

      Mike, it is very arrogant of you to generalize an entire ethnic group. Considering you have grown up here in the US and have watched the news countless times, I am sure you have seen articles about all races. You are promoting genocide, which is sicknening. Whatever ethnicity you happen to be, think of all the cases you have witnessed where acts were committed by your own race. Would it be correct to say, your race should have been killed, due to those individuals. I don’t think so. How many times do you watch the news and there are crimes committed by Whites, Blacks, Asians, or whoever. I am an Armenian rasied in the US, and do believe everybody should obey the laws in the US since we live here. But to promote genocide, you are a bit naive and arrogant.

    4. garyg says:

      Dear Mike, I don’t know if I should hate you or feel sorry. I think I will just pity you. You know how beautiful Armenian women are! You wish they would even glance your way, but since they don’t its not fair to put them down. Just like we shouldn’t put you for being a fat, unemployed, ugly, ignorant boy who can’t get beautiful women. So since I am a law abiding, polite, intelligent, professional Armenian man I wont dwell on your short comings. Why is it that the ignorant bash an entire race for the crimes of some individuals. Its about those individuals who commited the crime, the Armenian people didn’t. Oh and for your reference to the genocide, God help you boy.

    5. MGT says:

      why mike? did an Armenian lady turn you down? Are you burnt from them or your wife is too ugly?

    6. Nune says:

      You sound like a lowlife c..t, You probably prefer Turkish men I guess.

      1. Nune says:

        This comment was for armenian women hating Mike btw

  25. S & S says:

    The news media always talks about a lot of other ethnic groups who commit different kinds of crimes on a daily basis including: Robbery, Kidnapping, Rape, Murder and etc. Why is it such a big issue when the Armenians are on the news once in a while and why is everyone generalizing them. It is not fair.

    1. Sam says:

      It’s called equal opportunity bashing?

  26. BECCA says:


  27. BECCA says:


  28. f..mike says:

    you too funny guy
    don’t quit your job at jack in the box

  29. Anto says:

    It is ONLY Armenians in Southern California that are a disgrace. Everywhere else we are not as disgusting. I’m Armenian and I’m with Shant in that, in Southern Ca, they’re more obnoxious than the typical LA idiot.

  30. Crooks'n'Castles says:

    I say So What if someone is stealing some of the money back from the government. We are all getting ripped off from left and right i.e. tax from paychecks, health insurance companies, plus the poor state of the economy due to poor oversight by past leadership and policies. If someone has figured out a way to make a living without physically hurting others, good for them.

  31. Crooks'n'Castles says:

    BTW, Anto and Shant, go eat a baklava and chill out!

  32. Sam k says:

    well it is all the governments fault because if they were smarter and payed more attention this will never have happened and this has been happening for some time because 160mill did not come over night all i can say is props to them for beating the system the sad part is they are arrested but their families can enjoy the greens.

  33. Pze says:

    mike how about Bell city ? its not Armenians that was receiving MILLIONS OF DOLLARS. maybe its will better if Turks did a genocide and kill them? ooo right you gays are not neighbors with turks

    1. WaHabe says:

      I noticed the people in Bell
      Had names like Rizzo
      That’s i-ta-li-an

  34. Pze says:


  35. Pze says:

    mike believe me you are just angry because you couldn’t be able to do it your self if you had a chance you will do it to. BELIEVE ME

  36. Pze says:

    By the way from the 7 pictures that on the web only 2 are Armenians 5 of the rest are Russian

  37. Carol B says:

    A Thief is a Thief, does not matter what race you are, I hope they all pay dearly. The greedy Bas***ds.

  38. leroybrown says:

    Those with names ending in ians are always into crime. Deport them and make Glendale a nice place.

    1. MGT says:

      it;s because of people whos last names in ian and yan that Glendale is a place to leave. if you are so burnt from Armenians in Glendale why don’t you go and leave in East or South LA. don’t be such a hater

  39. Shank K says:

    I love how all the pro-Armenians are calling me an idiot, a fruit, a loser, etc. Way to prove me wrong guys. So instead of trying to appeal to me rationally and with compassion, you drive me even further away with more hatred. You guys are brilliant!

    So far all the pro-Armenian comments just further show the ignorance of Armenians as a whole. I can’t believe Becca said that she’s in this country to conquer it, so sad. You people should consider yourself lucky that you’re in this country. I’m sure like most Armenians you bash this country thoroughly but have never even been to Armenia, or if you have you’d never live there. Armenians are great at being hypocrites and haters.

    1. Nune says:

      Shant, You are calling the others hypocrites that’s fine and you don’t want to be associated with armenians because some armenians are criminals. so what do you want to be then? an american who enslaved and unlawfully murdered millions of other nations up until recently? And perhaps you should look into American history, you will be shocked to find out how most of americans made their fortunes..
      I think you are a coward because you don’t have the guts to stand up for yourself.There is only a small minority that is bad and they are not worth changing you nationality, believe you me.
      Also by rejecting armenians and their culture, surely you are disrespecting your entire family and your own parents.. Perhaps I’m wrong,but when I think of armenians I think first of all my parents my brother and sisters and the rest of my family, they are the ones who make me proud for who I am…

    2. Your Chamlian Classmate says:

      By the way.. this better not be Shant Krikorian. Shame on you man.

  40. Crooks'nCastles says:

    Shant K is probably one of those feminine types who watches a lot of reality drama shows including those that have to do with cake making, home renovations and brides. He loves cats and flowers and hates the smell of tailpipe smoke. He goes to the mall with his female friends and actually spends more time looking at the latest fashion wear and home furnishings. His parents always forced him to speak Armenian at home which made him become super anti-Armenian and he decided to run off to somewhere like Berkeley with his non-Armenian friends. They moved in to a small apartment together where they host Wine Wednesdays. Sorry for my long post but just my 2 cents on what I think happened to the guy!

  41. Zorro says:

    Shant K, do you even know what your name means in Armenian? It means Thunderbolt. You have definitely lived up to your name, but in the worst way possible. I don’t even want to waste my time using profanity on you because it’s not worth it. Instead of bagging on people for their spelling and grammar, go read a history book about Armenia (YOUR HISTORY) and see where you came from. Sure you were probably born in the U.S. and handed everything on a silver platter, but your own grandparents or maybe great grandparents are ARMENIAN and shame on you for spitting on their culture like that. You wouldn’t even be here if they didn’t go through what they went through to survive. You’re letting a few selective incidences dictate your opinion on the ENTIRE ARMENIAN RACE. That is not only ignorant, but all it does is show incompetence. The biggest ponzi scheme and fraud was committed 2 years ago by a white man. Every single day, whites, Mexicans, Blacks, and other races are committing crimes in this country — you don’t see their people disowning their own race for that do you? If you’re going to claim to no longer be Armenian and be an American instead, then you need to re-evaluate because an American man holds the record for defrauding America. Stop running away and deal with the fact that you’re Armenian. Or be a coward and live with your conscience for the rest of your life. Think of what your grandparents would think next time you open your mouth.

  42. Natali says:

    I am armenian with a model look lady………not ugly at all……and whatever you are saying here , armenians are the best men , the ones who knows how to treat a woman and how to make her happy . I never dated and will never do anybody but armenians and it will be better for you if you BIG LOSERS stop judging them ……just go and look at yourselves in the mirror.

  43. hyegirl says:

    if people were to look at the news and really hear what they have to say, they werent all armenians but people dont look at that. they just need a reason to pick on a culture and just because of this little incident they got a chance to say bad things about armenians but lets see them say something about the jews who get away with all these which im sure everyone knows they too have been doing this for many yrs.