When a State Compensation Insurance Fund (State Fund) employee noted a suspicious lien payment in November of 2019, the employee went to a Special Investigator of the State Fund to express their concerns.
What was discovered was a fraud scheme which spanned 12 years and paid out over $1.6 million in fraudulent claims.
The California Department of Insurance dubbed the investigation Operation Lien on Me. This is how it worked: 65-year old chiropractor Shahe Topjian of Granada Hills would submit fake workers’ compensation lien payments for services never provided to 65-year old claims adjuster Agop Sarafian of La Crescenta.
Each lien payment submitted was less than $5,000 to eliminate the need for approval besides Sarafian’s. The State Fund would send the payment to Topjian who would give a cut to Sarafian. This scenario played out an alleged 459 times and resulted in $1,603,340 in fraudulent payouts, a loss to the State Fund.
About this case, Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara stated, “Their actions not only defrauded money from State Fund, it also harmed California consumers who pay for this type of fraud through higher insurance premiums.”
Sarafian and Topjian were arrested for felony insurance fraud charges and booked into the Los Angeles Sheriff Department Inmate Reception Center with bail set at $50,000. Arraignment is scheduled for December 30, 2020, at the Foltz Criminal Justice Center and is to be prosecuted by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.