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Southern California Imaging Center Mogul Indicted for $284 million in Healthcare Fraud

Sam Sarkis Solakyan, the owner of several medical imaging companies in Southern California, has been indicted for conspiring to commit honest services mail fraud, healthcare fraud, aiding, and abetting. He was arrested on September 26, 2018.

According to the unsealed indictment filed in late September, between 2012 and 2015, Solakyan conspired with chiropractor Steven Rigler; his clinic manager, Alexander Martinez; and Fermin Iglesias and Carlos Arguello, owners of a handful of patient services companies, to pay physicians to refer their Workers’ Compensation patients to Solakyan’s businesses for medical imaging procedures.

In exchange for the referrals, Solakyan and his co-conspirators compensated the referring physicians with either a “steady supply of new patients” or cash. They required that physicians refer patients to a “minimum number of ancillary medical services and goods” to Solakyan’s companies in order to sustain the flow of referred patients to the doctors. These referral transactions were disguised as “marketing,” “administrative services,” and “scheduling” services.

As a part of their scheme, Solakyan’s companies Global Holdings and Empire Radiology paid Iglesias and Arguello $8.8 million for referring workers to MRI services. He also paid Rigler for each MRI scan referral. Overall, Solakyan submitted more than $284 million in invoices imaging services for workers compensation claims.

According to San Diego District Attorney, “It was a further part of the conspiracy that the co-conspirators concealed from patients, and intended to cause the physicians to conceal from patients, the bribe and kickback payments, in violation of those physicians' fiduciary duties to their patients and in violation of California law.”

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