Many of the 10 million or so auto accidents reported each year in the United States go much deeper than the dents and scratches you see on the surface. Some of these accidents are staged or never happened at all. Yet the cost to holders of auto insurance policies is very real. In the last few weeks, the authorities have made arrests in two separate cases of Personal Injury Protection (PIP) fraud scams.
Last week, a Jacksonville resident, Sandy Morales, the owner of Gate Parkway Diagnostic Center was arrested after an investigation by the Florida Department of Financial Services concluded that he has fraudulently filed over $100,000.00 in billing to at least twenty insurance carriers. Investigators say Morales staged multiple car crashes, paid participants to pose as passengers and then paid those participants to seek treatment in his clinic for fake injuries. For further information about this scam, read here.
This week, Dr. Douglas Price, the owner of the Florida Pain Trauma and Injury Clinic in Auburndale, Florida, along with Paulin Sanon and Sonya Rivera of Haines City, and Juliena Julien of Winter Haven have been arrested on charges related to a complex PIP fraud scam.
Between October 2014 and March 2015, an investigation uncovered evidence that Price’s Auburndale and Tampa clinics were engaged in patient brokering, and also that clinic staff were performing treatments that they were not qualified or licensed to perform, the DIF stated. Price and his associate, Sonya Rivera, reportedly offered $500 as compensation for fifteen clinic visits, and an additional $500 after twenty-five visits to the clinic for treatment of injuries that did not exist. A monetary offer was also extended for the recruitment of additional individuals to attend the clinic. For more information, read here.
According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, Florida is the No. 1 state for PIP frauds, being Tampa the lead city and South Florida the runner-up and Orlando the second runner up.