ATTORNEY GENERAL TONG AND DSS COMMISSIONER GIFFORD ANNOUNCE COURT DECISION REQUIRING FAIRFIELD DENTIST TO PAY $1.7 MILLION FOR VIOLATING STATE'S FALSE CLAIMS ACT
Dentist engaged in long-term, pervasive scheme to defraud state's Medicaid program
(Hartford, CT) – Attorney General William Tong and state Department of Social Services Commissioner Deidre S. Gifford today announced a Superior Court decision requiring Dr. Aram Agadjanian, also known as Aram Yuri Agadzanov, to pay more than $1.7 million for engaging in a long-term, pervasive scheme to defraud the state's Medicaid program.
Following a seven day trial held in Hartford, the court found that from May 2014 to May 2015 Dr. Agadjanian knowingly presented numerous claims for payment for dental work that were never provided to state Medicaid patients, that he knew these claims were false or fraudulent, that he created false records material to the claims, and that he did this in order to obtain payment.
The court ordered that he pay treble damages, along with a civil penalty of $1.5 million. The court assessed penalties at the maximum of the penalty range for reasons including Dr. Agadjanian failing to provide essential dental services to which the patients were entitled, he victimized a population of handicapped individuals, his conduct was persistent and egregious, and he failed to accept responsibility for his wrongdoing.
"Dr. Agadjanian engaged in an illegal scheme to defraud state and federal healthcare programs by preying on some of Connecticut's most vulnerable citizens. Together with the Department of Social Services, we took action to protect Connecticut patients and taxpayers. This favorable ruling in the Office of the Attorney General's first-ever trial under the Connecticut False Claims Act sends a clear message that bad actors who victimize our Medicaid members will be held accountable," said Attorney General Tong.
“This is a particularly disturbing example of an individual found to have violated the trust of his patients and our public health coverage program,” said Commissioner Gifford. “While not representing Medicaid or our providers as a whole, this case does point out the need for constant vigilance on behalf of patients and taxpayers. I thank the Attorney General and his staff, our federal partners, the Vernon Police Department and DSS Quality Assurance investigators for their outstanding work.”
Dr. Agadjanian was enrolled as a dental provider in the Connecticut Medical Assistance Program (CMAP), which includes the state's Medicaid program – from May 2009 to May 2015. The Connecticut Department of Social Services, the administering agency for CMAP, terminated Dr. Agadjanian's provider agreement.
Attorney General Tong thanked the DSS Office of Quality Assurance, the U.S. Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General – Office of Investigations, the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit in the Office of the Chief State's Attorney, and the Vernon Police Department, which referred the matter to the Attorney General, for their assistance and coordination in this case.
Anyone with knowledge of suspected fraud or abuse in the public healthcare system is asked to contact the Attorney General’s Antitrust and Government Program Fraud Department at 860-808-5040 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org; the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit at 860-258-5986 or by email at email@example.com; or the Department of Social Services fraud reporting hotline at 1-800-842-2155, online at www.ct.gov/dss/reportingfraud, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Forensic Fraud Examiners Thomas Martin and Kevin Jeffko, Paralegal Orlean Woodham, and Michael E. Cole, Chief of the Antitrust and Government Program Fraud Department assisted the Attorney General with this matter.