The United States will seek Armenia’s assistance should it need such in its current investigation of a major medical insurance fraud by an Armenian American syndicate, visiting Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) officials said on Thursday.
FBI legal attache Kevin Donovan, FBI regional security officer Lance Leveque and legal advisor at the U.S. Embassy in Armenia Steve Kessler met with Armenia’s Prosecutor-General Aghvan Hovsepian in Yerevan to “officially give information about the criminal case in the United States over banking and medical insurance fraud in which ethnic Armenians have also been involved”, according to Prosecutor-General’s Office spokesperson Sona Truzian.
Truzian told RFE/RL that during the meeting the Armenian side was informed that “73 persons in the United States have been charged with money laundering, banking and medical insurance fraud and 32 of them were arrested.”
About three dozen members of an Armenian American syndicate charged with filing some $100 million in fake claims to a U.S. government health insurance program, known as Medicare, were arrested by the FBI in the United States last week.
Law-enforcement officials in the United States said among the members of the group there were many immigrants with substantial ties to Armenia.
Truzian said at the request of the Armenian Prosecutor-General’s Office, the visiting FBI representatives promised to specify how many of the charged or arrested people are Armenians and how many of them are citizens of Armenia.
Truzian also categorically denied a number of recent media reports claiming that more than a dozen FBI agents had come to Armenia as part of the current investigation. She quoted the FBI officials as saying that no agent has been or could have been dispatched to Armenia without the Armenian side’s knowledge.
According to a report by the Prosecutor-General’s Office press service, during the meeting the sides discussed “issues of cooperation between the law-enforcement agencies of Armenia and the United States in combating crime.”
Prosecutor-General Hovsepian reportedly assured the FBI delegation of his office’s “willingness to assist in the investigation within its powers should there be such a legal request from U.S. counterparts” and the sides “agreed to exchange information.”
Spokeswoman Truzian said the nature of possible assistance will become clear as the investigation goes on.
She said that during the meeting FBI legal attache Kevin Donovan said the United States will seek Armenia’s assistance, if need be.
But she added that no such request has been made yet.