Claims adjuster, Agop Sarafian, 65, of La Crescenta, Calif., and chiropractor, Shahe Topjian, D.C. 65, of Granada Hills, Calif., were arrested on felony insurance fraud charges after allegedly conspiring to defraud Sarafian’s employer, the State Compensation Insurance Fund, by setting up fake workers’ compensation lien payments to receive undeserved insurance payouts of over $1.6 million.
A lien is often submitted by a physician or provider for payment that they believe they are entitled from a claimant’s workers’ compensation treatment or for services rendered.
In November 2019, another State Fund employee reportedly noted a suspicious lien payment issued by Sarafian and advised a special investigator for State Fund of their concerns. State Fund initiated an investigation and reportedly discovered that Sarafian had processed 459 lien payments to Topjian over a period of 12 years. S
State Fund referred the case to the California Department of Insurance. The CDI’s investigation, dubbed Operation Lien on Me, found Sarafian created and approved 459 lien payments for Topjian between 2007 and 2019. Sarafian and Topjian allegedly conspired in this organized fraud scheme to repeatedly defraud State Fund by setting up fake workers’ comp lien payments for services that were never provided. Sarafian reportedly used information from past State Fund workers’ comp claims he worked on to create the fraudulent lien payments.
The fraudulent lien payments contained no supporting documentation that Topjian provided treatment or procedures to any of the 459 claimants. Sarafian processed the lien payments under his $5,000 approving authority limit to avoid outside approval. The payments from State Fund were reportedly sent to Topjian and a portion was given to Sarafian, though neither of them was entitled to receive any of the payments. Their alleged fraud resulted in a $1,603,340 loss to State Fund. Sarafian resigned from State Fund in December 2019.
Both Sarafian and Topjian were booked into the Los Angeles Sheriff Department Inmate Reception Center. Bail was set at $50,000. Their arraignment will be scheduled at Department 30 of the Foltz Criminal Justice Center. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office is prosecuting this case.
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