Fugitive doctor who faked death pleads guilty in Los Angeles

A former Southern California doctor who faked his own death and hid overseas for 14 years has pleaded guilty to unlawfully fleeing prosecution.

City News Service says Tigran Svadjian (Tee-GRAHN' SVAHD'-jee-ahn) entered a federal plea Tuesday and could face up to five years in prison.

Prosecutors say the Newport Beach physician faked his death in Russia in 2002 while facing charges that he bilked California's Medi-Cal program out of nearly $2.5 million through phony billings.

He hid in Russia and in Egypt, where he was arrested this July. Most recently, he had worked as a part-time scuba instructor.