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California Doctor Faked His Own Death to Avoid Jail... and Got Away with It for Over 10 Years

( [email protected] ) Nov 17, 2016 04:02 AM EST
A California doctor wanted for defrauding the Medi-cal health insurance program which cost the national government millions of dollars has been arrested in Ukraine after 10 years of search.
Svadjian's Fake Death Certificate. Los Angeles Times

A California doctor wanted for defrauding the Medi-cal health insurance program which cost the national government millions of dollars has been arrested in Ukraine after 10 years of search.

Tigran Svadjian, originally from Armenia, moved to the U.S., did his medical studies in New York, then became a licensed medical practitioner in California.

Along with other conspirators, he overbilled the state of California for medical tests. This has resulted in millions of dollars of loss for the state.

The scheme was eventually uncovered in 2002, and he was given the choice to face 10 years in prison, or to cooperate with the government, in exchange for a lesser sentence, by being their undercover agent to catch other conspirators. He agreed with the latter.

However before starting off with his undercover work, he said he had to immediately fly to Russia to visit his dying mother.

Svadjian was nowhere to be found ever since, until authorities were notified of his death in October of that same year (2002).

U.S. authorities had to drop their charges, until over 10 years later, they were informed of a certain 'Viktoras Cajevkis' traveling on a fake Lithuanian passport. He was caught for using a fake passport while in Kiev, Ukraine, en route to Russia from Egypt. He was then sent back to Egypt.

Authorities were caught by a bigger surprise when they searched his apartment in Hurghada, a Red Sea resort town, and found an expired fake Russian passport where he was named 'Vasily Petrosov,' and his American passport which showed his real name. Egyptian authorities immediately notified the U.S. Embassy.

It was then found out that he obtained a fake death certificate in Moscow back in 2002 which he 'bought' for $200. On the certificate, it says that Svadjian died of pneumonia.

Since then he's relocated to Egypt and became a part-time scuba instructor. He left his wife and two children in the U.S., and for more than a decade knew their head of the family was dead.

He was on his way to being a father again, this time with his Russian girlfriend, when his passport was questioned by Ukrainian authorities. He was at that time about to meet up with his girlfriend in Russia who is supposed to give birth to their second child.

He is now repatriated back in California where he is currently awaiting trial. He may most likely be facing a maximum of five years in prison.