Sandy Morales, who owned and operated Gate Parkway Diagnostic Center, has been arrested for racketeering and insurance fraud charges, as reported in a June 18, 2015 article by the Jacksonville Business Journal.
According to the Florida Department of Financial Services, Sandy Morales organized a complex Personal Injury Protection (PIP) fraud scam that resulted in over $100,000 in fraudulent filing claims for injuries in accidents which did not occur.
Investigators stated that Morales’ arrest is one of 180 arrests since September 2012 that are tied to the fraud network. According to the Division of Insurance Fraud, Morales elaborately staged multiple car accidents, paid people to pose as passengers, and then paid those individuals to seek treatment in his clinic for bogus injuries. Morales is also accused of recruiting other clinic owners to participate in the fraud, and sending patients to those clinics in order to increase the fraud network.
The clinics involved in the PIP scam, now closed, include:
- Arlington Rehabilitation Services Inc.
- Baymeadows Injury Center LLC
- Health Point Injury Center LLC
- One Touch Therapy Center Inc.
- Saint Jose Injury Center LLC
- Therapy Diagnostics Tech Medical Inc.
- Wellness Rehab Services Inc.
- Atlas Massage Therapy Corp.
Morales could face a maximum of 45 years in prison, and is currently being held in Duval County Jail with a bond of over $600,000.
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The Florida Department of Financial Services’ Division of Insurance Fraud announced on March 19, 2015 the arrest of two Fort Lauderdale Residents for PIP fraud following a staged accident. Kendrick Callins and Lashaunda Gibbs were arrested for staging auto accident, patient brokering and personal injury protection insurance fraud.
The Division of Insurance Fraud, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Broward County Sheriff’s office and the Fort Lauderdale Police Department investigation revealed that Callins and Gibbs organized and participated in a staged accident on September 22, 2012, in Fort Lauderdale. The staged accident involved participants, recruited by Callins and Gibbs, who intentionally drove a rented U-Haul truck into a passenger vehicle occupied by arrestees. The arrestees submitted fraudulent insurance claims which were paid by the insurers. Callins and Gibbs each face a maximum sentence of 25 years.
“Operation Never Ends,” the multi-organizational investigation organized by Miami police, the Secret Service, local and state agencies and insurance companies, has led to the closure of two clinics involved in staging accidents and making fraudulent insurance claims.
The more than one year long operation led to the arrest of, among others, Jorge Felix Felipe Pupo, 49, accused of being the ringleader, and Yanaris Ramirez Paneque, 36, a receptionist at one health clinic, according to authorities. According to the report from NBC 6:
Police say they went undercover inside a medical building in the 700 block of Northwest 23rd Avenue and at another location near Flagler and the Palmetto Expressway.
Detectives said recruiters would find those willing to participate in the staged accidents, then bring them to medical clinics where paperwork was done to get money back from insurance companies.
Police Sgt. Luis Taborda explained the scheme.
“The clinics are the main,” he said. “They provide the money to a runner and the runner puts together the crash — orchestrates the crash.”
Police said the ring was making big money on the claims.
“I could tell you that in one investigation that we did at the beginning, they were up to $80,000 before we shut them down — in just one crash,” Taborda said.
The article from NBC 6 South Florida is available here.