An Armenian-American crime ring based in Los Angeles and New York defrauded Medicare of more than $35 million by using stolen doctor and patient identities and setting up dozens of phony clinics coast-to-coast, according to federal indictments unsealed Wednesday.

Members of the group were taken into custody as part of a nationwide Medicare fraud sweep that resulted in charges in California, Ohio, New Mexico and Georgia. It was the latest in a string of health-care fraud busts nationwide by the Department of Justice.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said the case was among the largest-ever Medicare fraud enterprises. That is based on the more than $100 million in concocted bills authorities say participants submitted to Medicare beginning at least as early as 2006, though they obtained only $35.7 million in improper payments. It was the latest in a string of health-care fraud busts nationwide by the Department of Justice.

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