LOS ANGELES—On Thursday, May 21, an Encino man was sentenced to 9 years in prison for “leading a conspiracy to distribute powerful prescription opioids via sham medical clinics.”

The 40-year-old, Minas Matosyan, pleaded guilty in April this year to one count of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance. He was sentenced on Thursday by U.S. District Judge Philip S. Gutierrez. 

Matosyan was arrested in August 2017, in accordance with a federal grand jury indictment that charged him and 12 others with “scheming to divert at least 2 million controlled prescription pills for sale on the black market.” His plea agreement states that the conspirators ran the sham clinics and bribed corrupt doctors to let their names be placed on fraudulent prescriptions. 

Matosyan – sometimes called “Maserati Mike” – also admitted that they stole other doctors’ identities and issued prescriptions under their names. In May 2016, he offered a doctor a job where he could “sit home making $20,000 a month doing nothing.” The doctor declined the offer, leading Matosyan to steal his identity. 

He text-messaged a co-conspirator the doctor’s details, including their full name, medical license numbers, and national provider identifier (NPI) number. The co-conspirator used these to purchase prescription pads in the doctor’s name, and over the next two months, the group sold fraudulent prescriptions for a minimum of 9,450 oxycodone pills and 990 hydrocodone pills using them.

Matosyan would also staff the clinics with receptionists who would “falsely verify the phony prescriptions to pharmacists who called to check on their veracity.” Additionally, he sold large amounts of hydrocodone and oxycodone – which he attained via false prescriptions by other customers – and sold narcotic prescriptions to black market customers.

In the plea agreement, he also admitted to conspiring with others to obstruct justice by providing falsified medical records to the police. This incident occurred to foil an investigation into the confiscation of Vicodin from one of his main customers. A 53-year-old Glendale lawyer, Fred Minassian, also worked with Matosyan on this and will go on trial on July 7, 2020.

Eleven separate agencies played a role in investigating the conspiracy case, which has resulted in 11 convictions thus far. The prosecutor was Assistant United States Attorney Benjamin R. Barron, Chief of the Santa Ana Branch Office.