SHERMAN OAKS—Two pharmacy owners from Sherman Oaks were found guilty for their participation in a $35 million health care and money laundering scheme on Tuesday, August 21 in federal court. During their scheme, Aleksandr Suris, 51 and Maxim Sverdlov, 44, would bill Medicare for medications that were never provided to patients while laundering the money in the process.

Suris and Sverdlov were both found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and one count to commit money laundering after an 11-day trial. In addition, Suris was found guilty of one additional count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and six other counts of health care fraud. Both Suris and Sverdlov were found not guilty on three counts of healthcare fraud.

From 2012 to 2015, Sverdlov and Suris billed Medicare and CINGA for prescription drugs that were not dispensed to beneficiaries of Royal Care, the pharmacy the pair owned. Suris and Sverdlov concealed their fraudulent actions by coming up with fake invoices written by a co-conspirator. The phony invoices made it appear that Royal Care purchased medications it billed for Medicare. Evidence presented to the jury established that the pharmacy owners used the fake invoices to lauder the money gained by the fraud through their co-conspirator. Judge S. James Otero set sentencing for both Suris and Sverdlov for November 18, 2019.

The FBI, IRS-CI, HHS-OIG, and the U.S. Department of Justice investigated the case and that was brought as part of the Medicare Strike Force. Since 2007, the Medicare Strike Force has charged about 4,000 people who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more the $14 billion. The HHS Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services works in conjunction with HHS-OIG in taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.