HOUSTON – The leader and four others charged in a $13 million Medicare and Medicaid health care fraud case have entered guilty pleas for their respective roles, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson.
Mkrtich “Mike” Yepremian, 58, of Houston, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud and paying kickbacks to marketers of Medicare and Medicaid patients. Also pleading guilty today was Bompa Mbokoso Mompiere, 56, of Houston, who also pleaded to the conspiracy.
Over the last few weeks, three others have also been convicted – Mike Wilson, 47, Jermaine Doleman, 38, and Eric Johnson, 62, all of Houston. They pleaded guilty to the conspiracy and to committing health care fraud.
According to the factual basis in support of the plea, Yepremian ran several false clinics in Houston and Conroe. Yepremian paid marketers, including Wilson, Doleman and Johnson, to bring patients to the clinics for a battery of diagnostic tests and blood work, regardless of medical need. Yepremian paid the marketers approximately $100 for each patient brought to his clinics. In turn, the marketers paid the patients approximately $50 each.
Mompiere was an unlicensed foreign medical graduate who saw patients at Yepremian’s clinics. He also would go into the city and assist in drawing blood from Medicare and Medicaid patients at various home health businesses. Yepremian would bill Medicare and Medicaid for unnecessary blood work and would, in turn, get authorizations for home health care signed by physicians who worked at the clinics.
As a result of this scheme, Medicare and Medicaid were billed approximately $13 million and paid out approximately $9 million in false claims. Yepremian has also agreed to forfeit real estate and some commercial trucks as part of his plea agreement.
The statutory maximum penalty for a violation of the conspiracy statute or for health care fraud is up to 10 years in prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine. If convicted of paying kickbacks, Yepremian faces an additional five years in prison and a $25,000 fine.
The charges are the result of the investigative efforts of the Texas Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, Department of Health and Human Services – Office of Inspector General (Office of Investigations) and the FBI. Special Assistant United States Attorney Suzanne Bradley and Trial Attorney Scott Armstrong are prosecuting the case.