The case was so strong it didn’t go to trial. Jennifer Adams of Boca Raton has pleaded guilty to a federal charge that she worked with others to rip off insurance companies through staged auto accidents. The chiropractor could go to jail for up to 20 years, pay a $250,000 fine and return $1.9 million stolen from the insurance companies.
Cases like hers are among the reasons why the Florida legislature pushed through Personal Injury Protection (PIP) reform in the 2012 session. Under a law that took effect in July, people injured in a car accident can receive the full $10,000 in PIP benefits if they to go to a doctor, but no more than $2,500 if they see a chiropractor or visit a non-medical care outlet.
Why? PIP fraud stems in part from medical clinics and chiropractors that predominantly treat auto accident-related injuries. The 39-year-old Adams is one example. Federal prosecutors say recruiters found people who would fake car collisions. The participants in both vehicles were coached on what to tell police when they arrived at the scene of the staged accident, and organizers would then file false injury claims with insurance companies.
The organizers sent the participants to two chiropractic clinics to which Adams loaned her license and she claimed she owned, prosecutors said. They were Ovy Rehabilitation Medical Center, Inc. in West Palm Beach and Chiropractic Office of South Florida in Palm Springs.
However, the organizers ran the clinics and filed falsified paperwork for PIP claims even though the participants were not injured and received little or no treatment. Prosecutors say Adams knew what was going on and collected a salary from the organizers; they kept most of the $1.9 million collected from 10 insurance companies.
The fraud was uncovered through the hard work of the FBI, IRS and Florida Department of Insurance Fraud. Prosecutors gave a special thanks to the National Insurance Crime Bureau for its assistance. The NICB is a nonprofit organization funded by insurance companies that works with law enforcement agencies to find and prosecute insurance criminals.
Tags: auto insurance, chiropractor, Division of Insurance Fraud, fake accident, fake auto injuries, FBI, fraudulent PIP claim, IRS, Jennifer Adams, NICB, Palm Beach County, PIP claim, PIP fraud, staged accident, United Automobile Insurance Company