September was a busy month for the Florida Division of Insurance Fraud (DIF). The agency arrested a massage therapist for fabricating medical forms, as well as four other individuals who organized and recruited participants to be involved in staged accidents.
According to DIF, one arrest occurred in Orlando while the remainder took place in Miami. Those arrested in the five unrelated cases include:
Madelein Marin Aroche. The 41-year old massage therapist worked at New Life Medical Center in Miami. She was charged with insurance fraud after submitting false therapy forms for treatment she never provided to two patients who participated in staged accidents. Her scheme resulted in almost $30,000 in fraudulent billing to GEICO Insurance Co.
Renfroe Lorenz Tyson. The 46-year old recruiter and participant was arrested in Orlando for his role in a 2013 staged accident that resulted in more than $6,600 in fraudulent billings to Allstate and GEICO.
Victor Manuel Hernandez. The 32-year old from Miami conspired with William Tejeda Mayobanex, who was arrested by DIF in August. Hernandez helped recruit participants for a staged accident in 2011. The participants were then referred to A & J Rehabilitation Center and D & J Rehabilitation Center, where more than $64,000 in fraudulent billings were submitted to United Auto and York Services.
Vladimir Caro. The 38-year old organizer staged an accident in 2011. The six participants in the crash were also referred to A & J Rehabilitation Center and D & J Rehabilitation Center. More than $117,000 in fraudulent billings were submitted to Allstate, State Farm, United Auto and Windhaven.
Sandy Morales Castro, 33, was identified as a recruiter and the eighth subject arrested in a staged accident that occurred in 2010. This fake crash resulted in more than $46,000 in fraudulent billings submitted to GEICO, MGA and Progressive.
The first successful conviction in Lee County for a staged motor vehicle accident was recently announced by Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater. Alain Guevara, 29, of Lehigh Acres, pleaded guilty in the 20th Judicial Circuit Court to staging an August 2012 motor vehicle accident and knowingly presenting false information in support of a PIP claim. He faces a two year mandatory minimum sentence.
The initial accident report stated that a rented truck, driven by Guevara’s accomplice, failed to obey a stop sign and collided with Guevara’s vehicle. Property damage ensued. Following the collision, Guevara knowingly presented a false, incomplete and misleading accident report to the insurance company. Allstate Insurance Company and REPWEST Insurance Company received the fraudulent PIP claims.
One of the insurance companies, suspecting fraud, reported the accident to the Department of Financial Services’ Division of Insurance Fraud (DIF). DIF commenced its investigation and concluded that the damage sustained by the vehicles was inconsistent with the accident account provided. In fact, a vehicle damage consistency report revealed that the car was not even in motion at the time of impact.
In addition to vehicular damage inspection and review of the facts, DIF subpoenaed phone records for the parties involved. Phone company logs revealed that the two drivers knew each other prior to the incident, as evidenced by numerous calls between them prior to, and immediately following, the collision.
Fort Myers, FL chiropractor, Dr. David Greydinger, was arrested last week after investigators caught Greydinger submitting fraudulent insurance claims for non-existent auto accidents. Reports indicate Greydinger, of MYO Health Clinic, paid informants kickbacks to submit claims totaling $6,000 arising out of non-existent accidents. Reports indicate that MYO Health Clinic remains open for business at this time.
Detective William Quick of the Florida Division of Insurance Fraud stated, “Greed is the primary force behind everything with insurance fraud. It all comes down to money.”
The full report is available here.
On Tuesday, Broward county chiropractor Jennifer Adams, 39, of Boca Raton, admitted to one count of conspiring to commit mail fraud and agreed to pay more than $1.92 million in restitution to 10 insurance companies.
Adams permitted her name to be used to create two chiropractic clinics: Ovy Rehabilitation Medical Center, Inc. in West Palm Beach, and Chiropractic Office of South Florida, LLC in Palm Springs. Both clinics submitted fraudulent PIP claims on behalf of individuals involved in staged accidents.
Adams, a chiropractor in Florida since 1999, agreed to relinquish her medical licenses. According to the Sun-Sentinel report:
The maximum punishment is 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 though she will likely face a much lesser penalty when she is sentenced by U.S. District Judge Daniel T. K. Hurley in federal court in West Palm Beach in the next several weeks.
The full story is available here.
Two more arrests were made as a result of a personal injury protection (PIP) fraud scheme in Manatee County involving patient brokering. The arrests of Nerber A. Iglesias, 40, and Michael Borkowski, 42, were the result of an undercover sting, according to an announcement made by Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater.
According to the Claims Journal report:
An investigation by the Florida Department of Financial Services’ Division of Insurance Fraud revealed that Iglesias approached a Sarasota chiropractor about becoming the straw owner of Garden Relief Center, LLC. The chiropractor contacted law enforcement and, under the direction of the department, applied for a clinic exemption certificate to begin operating the facility. The chiropractor, working undercover, was also contacted by a local body shop owner named Michael Borkowski, who made arrangements to provide accident patients to the clinic for a fee. During the course of the investigation, Garden Relief Center submitted almost $40,000 in fraudulent insurance claims to six different insurance companies.
The full article is available here.
Florida’s Chief Financial Officer, Jeff Atwater, announced Tuesday that eight individuals involved in multiple staged accidents in Miami-Dade County were connected to six different PIP fraud rings. The press release from the the CFO states:
An investigation by the Florida Department of Financial Services’ Division of Insurance Fraud revealed that Alexander Cid, 47; Luis Rivero Dominguez, 35; Franklyn Chaviano, 38; Robert E Bayona, 55; Carlos Padron Fernandez, 38; Yosmel Ramos Peraza, 24; Andres Vega Fleites, 61; and Jorge Fernandez Rodriguez, 52, participated in staged accidents in coordination with six fraud rings as organizers or drivers between May 2009 to May 2011.
The staged auto accidents resulted in more than $340,000 in fraudulent auto insurance claims. If convicted, the eight individuals involved could serve a total of 455 years in prison.
The Division of Insurance Fraud (DIF) recently entered into a partnership with the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP), which will include the assignment of FHP Troopers to the Miami and Tampa DIF offices to work in the investigation of staged accident ring activity.
The full press release is available here.
Johnson Safaite, 24; Li Franc Safaite, 55; and Ronald Samedifede, 41, each face two counts of making a false insurance claim as a result of an alleged January motor vehicle accident in which a vehicle swerved to avoid Li Franc Safaite’s vehicle and eventually struck a utility pole. When authorities arrived, Li Franc and his three passengers reported that they were rear ended in the alleged accident.
All four occupants then sought treatment at a clinic and billed Geico more than $11,000.00. The claims were denied and the four involved in the false claims were referred to Florida’s Division of Insurance Fraud (DIF).
The full article is available here.