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Leader of Armenian Organized Crime Ring Sentenced in Manhattan Federal Court to 37 Months in Prison for His Role in $100 Million Medicare Fraud Scheme

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that Armen Kazarian was sentenced today in Manhattan federal court to 37 months in prison for his involvement with the Mirzoyan-Terdjanian Organization, an Armenian-American organized crime enterprise engaged in a wide range of criminal activity. Kazarian pled guilty to racketeering conspiracy in July 2011 and was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Paul G. Gardephe.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said, “Armen Kazarian sat at the top of a criminal organization and now he will sit in a jail cell for a long time. International mobsters who think they can export their criminal enterprises to the United States and target our government programs and our citizens are in for a rude awakening—they will face U.S. justice and be made to answer for their crimes.”

According to the indictment, other documents filed in this case, and statements made during the guilty plea proceeding:

Kazarian was a “Vor,” a term translated as “Thief-in-Law.” The term refers to a member of a select group of high-level criminals from Russia and the countries that had been part of the former Soviet Union, including Armenia. Vors offer prestige and protection to criminal organizations in return for a share of criminal earnings and use their position of authority to resolve disputes among criminals. Kazarian used his status as a Vor within the criminal community to assist the Mirzoyan-Terdjanian Organization, an Armenian-American organized crime ring that engaged in an extensive range of criminal offenses including the operation of a $100 million Medicare fraud billing ring. As part of his involvement with the group, Kazarian engaged in extortion on the organization’s and his own behalf.

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In addition to the prison term, Judge Gardephe sentenced Kazarian, 47, of Glendale, California, to three years of supervised release. He was also ordered to pay a $60,000 fine.

Mr. Bharara thanked the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the New York City Police Department; the New York Field Office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations; and the New York Office of the Inspector General, Department of Health and Human Services for their work in the investigation.

The prosecution is being handled by the Office’s Organized Crime Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jennifer Burns, Arlo Devlin-Brown, and Harris Fischman are in charge of the prosecution.


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