LOS ANGELES (CNS) — Two San Fernando Valley brothers pleaded guilty on Monday, April 15, to a federal conspiracy charge for their roles in a scheme that used sham “pop-up” medical clinics to divert millions of prescription pills — including oxycodone and other addictive narcotics — to the black market.
Minas “Maserati Mike” Matosyan, 38, of Encino, and Hayk Matosyan, 32, of Granada Hills, are scheduled to be sentenced July 15 in Los Angeles federal court. Each defendant faces up to 20 years behind bars on the count of conspiracy to distribute oxycodone, a Schedule II controlled substance, according to the US Attorney’s Office.
Prosecutors said the elder Matosyan ran the operation by hiring corrupt doctors who allowed conspirators to issue fraudulent prescriptions under their names in exchange for kickbacks. Hayk Matosyan acted as a courier, helping deliver fraudulent prescriptions and “bulk quantities” of narcotic pills, federal prosecutors said.
According to his plea agreement, Minas Matosyan admitted to controlling the sham clinics and hiring corrupt doctors who allowed their names to be used on fraudulent prescriptions in exchange for kickbacks. Minas Matosyan also admitted to stealing the identities of other doctors and then issuing prescriptions in those doctors’ names, either by personally acquiring prescription pads in the doctors’ names or by arranging for other co-conspirators to do so.
The elder Matosyan also admitted to staffing receptionists at the clinics who would falsely verify the phony prescriptions when pharmacists called to verify them. Minas Matosyan sold narcotic prescriptions to black market customers — either directly or through couriers — and also sold bulk quantities of hydrocodone and oxycodone he had acquired from phony prescriptions filled at pharmacies by other customers.
In May 2016, Minas Matosyan spoke with a doctor and offered him a “very lucrative position” where the doctor would “sit home making $20,000 a month doing nothing,” according to the plea agreement. After the doctor declined the offer, Matosyan stole the doctor’s identity, sending a co-conspirator a text message containing the doctor’s full name, medical license number and national provider identifier number that the co-conspirator used to order prescription pads in the doctor’s name.
Over the next two months, Matosyan and his co-conspirators sold fraudulent prescriptions purportedly issued by the victim doctor for at least 9,450 pills of oxycodone and 990 pills of hydrocodone, the plea agreement states. The phony prescriptions allowed the conspirators to obtain bulk quantities of prescription drugs that were sold on the street, according to the indictment.
Hayk Matosyan admitted in his plea agreement that he aided the conspiracy by serving as a courier of oxycodone or related proceeds from the sale of oxycodone.
Members of the conspiracy profited from illicit prescriptions that were issued without any legitimate medical purpose through a series of clinics that periodically opened and closed in a “nomadic” style, according to the indictment returned against the Matosyans and 11 others — including Glendale-based criminal defense attorney Fred Minassian.
A Sept. 10 trial date is set for most of the remaining defendants.
The defendants are charged with such crimes as conspiracy and obstruction of justice for allegedly creating fraudulent medical records in an effort to deter the investigation.