Executive Sentenced After Charging State for Medically Unnecessary MRIs

On Friday Sam Sarkis Solakyan, CEO of several medical-imaging companies including the Glendale-based Vital Imaging Inc., and San Diego MRI Institute, was sentenced after being found guilty by a jury of one count of conspiracy to commit honest services mail fraud and health care fraud, and 11 counts of honest services mail fraud, according to a press release from the Department of Justice.

The defendant, as CEO of the medical imaging companies, was involved in a scheme to defraud the California Workers Compensation System for medical imaging services that were not medically necessary, the release explained.

Per the DOJ, the defendant created a kickback scheme wherein doctors offices would refer patients for medically unnecessary MRIs and other medical imaging procedures. The defendant would then bill the workers compensation insurers for the unnecessary procedures. The defendant would then remunerate the doctors offices through direct cash payments that were labeled as “scheduling fees” and further workers compensation patient referrals. The doctors offices would only receive the kickbacks if they met certain thresholds in referrals to the imaging companies.

The defendant has been sentenced to 60 months in federal prison, restitution in the amount of $27,937,175.00, and has been banned from working in the health care and workers compensation industries for the duration of his three year term of supervised release after his prison sentence is completed. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Adam P. Schleifer of the Major Frauds Section and Faraz R. Mohammadi of the Santa Ana Branch Office.