Two Valley residents were arrested yesterday on charges of insurance fraud after being accused of being the catalysts of a workers’ comp scam that cost the State Compensation Insurance Fund $1.6 Million in fraudulent insurance payouts. Agop Sarafian, 65 year old claims adjuster from La Crescenta, and Shahe Topjian, 65 year old chiropractor from Granada Hills, were found to have been engaged in a scheme wherein Sarafian processed 459 lien payments between the years of 2007 and 2019 to Topjian for services that were never actually rendered. Sarafian retired from the State Fund back in December 2019 because of the investigation.
Sarafian’s modus operandi included processing lien payments under $5,000 to evade the need for external approval, then sending State Fund payments to Topjian while retaining an amount for himself, despite not having the clearance to do so. The scam ran over the course of twelve years and amounted to exactly $1,603,340 to the detriment of the State Fund. One key finding was that the claims in question did not contain any supporting documents to prove if any chiropractic procedures or treatments were ever performed by Topjian. It was also noted that Sarafian was able to utilize old information from previous claims that he processed to carry out the scam.
Sarafian and Topjian were both arrested and detained at the LAPD Inmate Reception Center, with bail set at $50,000. Their trial will be held at the Foltz Criminal Justice Center with the Los Angeles County DA’s Office prosecuting on behalf of the State of California. According to the Department of Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara, the accused “conspired to illegally line their own pockets for over a decade” and cheated not only the State Fund, but also “harmed California consumers who pay for this type of fraud through higher insurance premiums.”
We would like to issue a reminder that Workers’ Compensation is a right extended to all working Americans. Everything should be done to ensure that the system serves to help people, not hinder them. Remember that this is a public service, so practice honestly and wisely – and reach out to TukkoMed for all things QME.