By Nikola Krastev
NEWYORK (RFE/RL) — US law enforcement authorities have announced charges against 44 members of an Armenian- American criminal syndicate in connection with the operation of more than 100 medical clinics that filed some $100 million in fake claims to a government health insurance program.
The lead prosecutor in the case, US attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, said the Mirzoyan- Terdjanian organization — which is named after its two alleged leaders, 35-year-old Davit Mirzoyan and 36-year-old Robert Terdjanian — employed threats, intimidation and violence and operated in a classical mafia style.
“The reach of this organization stretches clear across the country and well beyond our shores. And so in terms of profitability, geographic scope and sheer ambition this emerging international organized crime syndicate would be the envy of any traditional mafia family,” Bharara said.
Bharara said that the group operated principally out of Los Angeles and New York but had offshoots in 25 states involved in extortion, credit card fraud, identity theft, immigration fraud and even distribution of contraband cigarettes and stolen Viagra.