The death report of Tigran Svadjian.
The death report of Tigran Svadjian.

A Newport Beach physician who faked his own death to dodge an insurance fraud case and who was arrested after hiding in Russia and Egypt for 14 years faces sentencing Thursday for fleeing the district to evade justice.

Tigran Svadjian, 58, pleaded guilty in November in Los Angeles to a single federal count of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, a felony which carries a five-year maximum sentence.

Svadjian was arrested in Egypt in July and escorted back to the U.S. by federal agents 14 years after he fled to Russia, court papers show.

In 2002, he was facing federal health care fraud charges in Sacramento for allegedly bilking the state Medi-Cal program out of more than $2.4 million in fraudulent insurance billings.

After agreeing to cooperate with the government’s investigation, Svadjian was allowed to travel to Moscow to visit his ailing mother. But in October 2002, federal officials were notified that Svadjian died of pneumonia while in Russia and his remains had been cremated. The fraud charges were eventually dismissed.

Svadjian had been hiding in Egypt for much of the past 14 years, most recently working as a part-time scuba instructor. He was en route to Russia with a fake passport when he was apprehended.

Federal authorities indicated that the fraud charges would not be reinstated.

—City News Service

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