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Gavel and cuffs

ST. LOUIS • A man from Kazakhstan who helped set up a series of fake medical offices in the United States to defraud Medicare pleaded guilty Monday to a conspiracy charge in federal court here.

Kamoliddin Akramov, 21, admitted coming to the United States in May of 2010 on a J-1 visa with another man, Timur Kassenov. The two men obtained Illinois ID cards in Chicago, and then traveled around the U.S., setting up fake medical-related companies, renting mailboxes and using the names of doctors without their permission in connection with the companies, his plea says.

Akramov set up one in St. Louis and one in St. Louis County, two in Van Nuys, Calif., and two in Nashville, Tenn.

The plea says Akramov set up the companies with co-conspirators. Kassenov is also charged in the case but has not been arrested.

Prosecutors say that the fake companies used the stolen identities of doctors to submit thousands of fake reimbursement claims to Medicare.

The scheme, setting up fake companies to bill Medicare for services that were never provided, has been repeated around the country by others, court documents claim.

Akramov returned to this country on a J-1 visa in the summer of 2011. He was arrested on Sept. 12, 2011, as he was leaving the country. After his arrest, he told agents that he had been paid $4,500 and given a laptop computer for opening accounts.

At his sentencing Aug. 7, the conspiracy to defraud the Medicare program charge could mean up to a year in prison under federal sentencing guidelines.

Akramov's public defender, Diane Dragan, declined to comment Monday.

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