Encino man sentenced to nine years in prison for leading conspiracy to distribute opioids via sham clinics and corrupt doctors

 

Date: May 21, 2020

Contact: newsroom@ci.irs.gov

LOS ANGELES – A San Fernando Valley man was sentenced today to 108 months in federal prison for leading a conspiracy to distribute powerful prescription opioids via sham medical clinics that hired corrupt doctors who wrote fraudulent prescriptions to black market customers.

Minas Matosyan, a.k.a. "Maserati Mike" of Encino was sentenced by United States District Judge Philip S. Gutierrez. Matosyan pleaded guilty in April 2019 to one count of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance.

Matosyan was arrested in August 2017 pursuant to a federal grand jury indictment charging him and 12 other defendants with scheming to divert at least 2 million controlled prescription pills for sale on the black market. According to his plea agreement, Matosyan and his co-conspirators controlled the sham clinics and hired corrupt doctors who allowed their names to be used on fraudulent prescriptions in exchange for kickbacks. Matosyan also admitted that he and his co-conspirators stole the identities of other doctors and then issued 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.

As part of the scheme, Matosyan staffed receptionists at the clinics who would falsely verify the phony prescriptions to pharmacists who called to check on their veracity. He also sold narcotic prescriptions to black market customers – either directly or through couriers – and bulk quantities of hydrocodone and oxycodone he had acquired from phony prescriptions filled at pharmacies by other customers.

In May 2016, Matosyan offered a doctor a "very lucrative position" where the doctor would "sit home making $20,000 a month doing nothing," according to Matosyan's 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.

Matosyan also admitted in the plea agreement that he conspired with others, including a lawyer, Fred Minassian of Glendale to obstruct justice, by providing falsifying medical records to police to thwart an investigation into the seizure of a load of Vicodin from one of the conspiracy's major customers.

This case so far has resulted in 11 convictions. Minassian is scheduled to go on trial on July 7.

The investigation was conducted by the IRS Criminal Investigation; Drug Enforcement Administration; the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services - Office of Inspector General; the Ventura County Sheriff's Office, Pharmaceutical Crimes Unit; and Homeland Security Investigations. Substantial assistance was provided by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, the Los Angeles Police Department, the California Department of Justice, and the Orange Police Department.

This matter was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Benjamin R. Barron, Chief of the Santa Ana Branch Office.