News Release
January 28, 2008
For Information Contact,
Special Agent Ramona Sanchez
Public Information Officer
(602) 664-5725

Grand Jury Indicts Doctor and Con Artist Who Defrauded
AHCCCS of $70, 000

JAN 28 -- (Phoenix, Ariz. – Jan. 26, 2009 ) Elizabeth W. Kempshall, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA’s Phoenix Field Division joined Attorney General Terry Goddard today announced that Olena Kulakova, 30, of Glendale, and Dr. Paul Balikian, 77, of Phoenix, have been indicted on charges relating to a scheme that allegedly defrauded the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) of at least $70,000.

According to investigators, in May 2006, Balikian, a licensed osteopathic doctor, sold the “We Care Clinic,” a medical clinic in Phoenix, to Kulakova, who is not licensed to practice medicine. Between May 2006 and September 2007, Kulakova allegedly owned and operated the clinic and represented herself as a physician, including examining and treating patients, writing prescriptions using Balikian’s name, signing off on medical bills and patient charts and generally practicing medicine.

During this same time period, Balikian allegedly continued to work as a doctor at the clinic. Court documents state that he signed-off on the charts of patients seen by Kulakova, despite knowing that Kulakova was not licensed to practice medicine.

“DEA will stand firm on its commitment to investigate and prosecute any medical practitioner who violates the laws of the United States when prescribing controlled substances other then for legitimate medical needs,” said Special Agent in Charge Kempshall.

“This scheme shows a blatant disregard for the well-being of patients,” Goddard said. “Protecting Arizona and its residents from fraud and financial abuse is one of my top priorities, especially during these tough economic times.”

The following is a summary of the charges in the indictment:

  • Olena Kulakova: Kulakova was indicted on 92 counts including conspiracy, fraud, theft, illegally conducting an enterprise, participating in a criminal syndicate, money laundering, forgery and illegal administration of narcotic and dangerous drugs. If convicted of all charges, Kulakova faces up to 25 years in prison.
  • Dr. Paul Balikian: Balikian was indicted on six counts, including conspiracy, fraud, theft, illegally conducting an enterprise, assisting a criminal syndicate and money laundering. If convicted of all charges, Balikian faces up to 12.5 years in prison.

These charges, all felonies, are the result of an investigation conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Attorney General's AHCCCS/Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. Assistant Attorney General Philip Garrow is prosecuting this case.