4th Circuit affirms decision of man charged in health care schem - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

4th Circuit affirms decision of man charged in health care scheme

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The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals recently affirmed a West Virginia federal court's decision in the case of a man found guilty of participating in a $4 million health care fraud scheme.

Federal prosecutors charged Sargis Tadevosyan, 42, with conspiring in a year-long attempted Medicare fraud scheme with Igor Shevchuk, 23 and Arsen Bedzhanyan, 22.

Tadevosyan was found guilty by a federal jury Nov. 3 of one count of conspiracy to commit health care and wire fraud  and one count of aiding and abetting aggravated identity theft. He was sentenced to six years in prison.

Shevchuk was and Bedzhanyan each were sentenced to 18 months in prison.

Bedzhanyan and Shevchuk were charged with using fake IDs to create bank accounts for several fraudulent Kanawha County businesses, including ASC Solutions Corp., Attens Reliable Inc., KB Support Group Inc., PowerSource Support Inc., and Mega Plus Solutions Corp. These businesses created approximately $4 million worth of fraudulent claims. This money was later prevented from being paid, however.

According to testimony during the trial, the man known as Garik allegedly provided Shevchuck and Bedzhanyan with the fake identifications to set up the bank accounts in exchange for $5,000.

Shevchuk testified that Garrik asked Bedzhanyan and him to open accounts for people who had left the country but were not able to open accounts for themselves.

However, KB Support was not able to wire money out of the account, so Garrik allegedly asked Tadevosyan to drive Shevchuk and Bedzhanyan to Charleston to fix this mistake.  

Tadevosyan picked up the two men in New York City at midnight but hit a snag in Maryland when he was pulled over by police for a traffic stop, according to testimony from both men. Bedzhanyan said Tadevosyan handed him a fake ID and told him to put it in the gap between the door and the window.

When questioned by police, Bedzhanyan explained they were on their way to West Virginia to buy a used car — a story that Bedzhanyan maintains was made up by Tadevosyan.

Smith stated in his closing arguments that once in Kanawha County, Tadevosyan parked his car about block away from a Charleston-area bank before dropping off Bedzhanyan and Shevchuk. He also said Tadevosyan possessed the keys to the Kanawha County false front businesses.

In his appeal to the 4th Circuit, Tadevosyan challenged the sufficiency of evidence and said the court erred when it instructed the jury regarding specific intent, erred when it denied his motion to suppress certain photos as evidence, erred in not applying a minimal role offense level reduction and lastly, that the government violated the Brady doctrine in failing to turn in evidence related to his codefendant.

The 4th Circuit denied each claim.

Tadevosyan's attorney informed the government that he had evidence that Shevchuk also went under another name, Idlar Adjuglob. The 4th Circuit opinion notes that the government did find an email address with an alternate spelling of that alternative name.

His attorney said this evidence should have been provided under the Brady doctrine and the federal court directed him to file a motion for new trial. However, Tadevosyan did not move for a new trial, the 4th Circuit opinion notes.

Fourth Circuit judges say since he never filed this motion and the court didn't consider it, the 4th Circuit does not have jurisdiction to review the issue.

Tadevosyan also sought a minimal role reduction, since he says the only thing he did was drive Shevchuk and Bedzhanyan to West Virginia.

"Although appellant argues that the government proved only that he innocently drove his codefendants to West Virginia, the record demonstrates that he did much more," the 4th Circuit opinion states. "To begin with, appellant sought assurances from Bedzhanyan and Shevchuk that they understood why they were traveling to West Virginia, namely to facilitate same-day wire transfers out of the United Bank account."

The 4th Circuit additionally noted that when the three were stopped by the Maryland state trooper, Tadevosyan told Bedzhanyan to hide the fake ids and lie about the reason they were driving to West Virginia.

The 4th Circuit also denied Tadevosyan's claim alleging the district court should have suppressed the photos of him with an unnamed person who rented one of the false-front offices.

Tadevosyan maintained these photos should not have been seized because they were not incriminating.

"We agree with the district court that the incriminating character of the photographs was immediately apparent based on the officers' knowledge about the other individuals depicted in them and their connections to the fraud scheme. … Because the photographs showed appellant associating with people connected to the false-front providers, the district court correctly determined that the photographs were incriminating as they tended to link appellant with the crimes alleged in the indictment."