SHERMAN OAKS—Five people connected to clinics throughout the San Fernando Valley pleaded not guilty to federal healthcare fraud charges on Monday, July 1. The scheme that they were allegedly involved in used $20 million in bogus claims that were submitted to insurance companies.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office Roshanak “Roxanne” Khadem, 51, of Sherman Oaks owned and operated R&R Med Spa in Valley Village up until 2016. She also owned and operated R&R Med Spa’s successor company Nu-Me Aesthetic and Anti-Aging Center which was operated in Woodland Hills.

The recent indictment alleges that Khadem and others influenced their patients to visit their clinics to receive free cosmetic procedures which included facials, Botox injections, which are not covered by insurance, and laser hair removal.

Five of the suspects were allegedly involved in a multi-year conspiracy to commit health care fraud against at least eight health insurance companies. The other defendants include:

–Dr. Roberto Mariano, 60, of Rancho Cucamonga who helped operate the clinics.

–Mariana Sarkisyan, 50, of Panorama City who worked as the office manager at each clinic.

–Gary Jizmejian, 45, of Santa Clarita who was a former senior investigator at Anthem Special Investigations Unit. The unit he worked for at Anthem Blue Cross was responsible for investigating healthcare fraud committed against the insurance company.

–Lucine Ilangezyan, 39, of North Hills was and employee and insurance biller for the clinics.

Each of the suspects are accused of obtaining insurance information from patients and using that information to fraudulently bill insurance companies. The claims that the suspects made were for procedures that were never performed or were performed, but were unnecessary medical services according to the indictment. It is also alleged that in return for cash payments, Jizmejian assisted Khadem and others by providing them with confidential information from Anthem that aided them to submit false bills to the insurance company.

Victims of the insurance fraud claims included the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Pacific Maritime Association Benefit Plan, which is a health benefit plan that covers longshore workers in Southern California and their dependents. According to prosecutors another alleged victim was the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, which is a program that provides health insurance to federal employees.

Khadem who is represented by Amanda Touchton in the case was arrested in 2018.

Each count charged in the indictment has a maximum sentence of 10 years. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Alexander F. Porter of the Major Frauds Section.

Written By Christianne McCormick and Maydeen Merino