Six participants in a staged automobile accident ring that operated between October 2006 and December 2012 were sentenced this week by U.S. District Judge Kenneth A. Marra, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida.
Almost $10 million in restitution is sought from the six leading defendants, along with jail time followed by three years of supervised release. The individuals sentenced include:
Elias Sebastian Munguia, 41, Miami clinic owner
- $3,491,516.93 in restitution and 102 months in prison
Yenisleydi Ramos, 26, West Palm Beach secretary
- $1,666,028.08 in restitution and 50 months in prison
Oscar Montiel Martinez, 34, Lake Worth staged-accident participant, recruiter and check casher
- $1,359,208.73 in restitution and 76 months in prison
Teresita Mena, 52, West Palm Beach staged-accident participant, recruiter and check casher
- $1,321,459.87 in restitution and 66 months in prison
Aleida Capdevila, 62, West Palm Beach clinic office worker
- $1,039,928.19 in restitution and 53 months in prison
Juan Francisco Avon, 62, Miami licensed massage therapist
- $866,801.60 in restitution and 38 months in prison
Amaury Tomas Contino, 30, a Lake Worth staged-accident recruiter, filed a guilty plea in the matter. He faces up to 20 years in prison for each of multiple counts, including mail fraud.
The elaborate automobile insurance fraud scheme involved staged accidents, followed by unnecessary or fraudulent medical treatments at clinics run by participating owners, including defendant Munguia. False insurance claims for medical services not needed or never provided were submitted for payment.
The scheme grew as the “true owners” of chiropractic clinics recruited individuals with the medical or chiropractic licenses required by the state of Florida to establish new clinics and act as “nominee owners.” Ultimately the network grew to include 21 clinics.
The scheme worked so well for a while that additional participants were hired to launder the stream of cash generated from the false claims.