The bad boys of Personal Injury Protection (PIP) fraud are being arrested and convicted, just not as fast as they are committing crimes. Here’s a rundown of the latest capers that are making headlines:
- In Cape Coral, a co-conspirator charged with conspiracy to commit health care fraud was sentenced to five years in federal prison. Dr. Stephen M. Lovell, who once ran Xtreme Care Rehabilitation Center Inc., was also ordered to pay $1.7 million, based on what he supposedly made in fraudulent profits.
He was arrested as part of Operation Whiplash, which uncovered that that Lovell falsely claimed to be owner of Xtreme Care, when in fact that and another clinic were owned by Francisco Huici Fernandez, Ernesto Diaz, and Abel de Jesus Perez. The conspirators also staged accidents and filed false PIP claims as part of the conspiracy. All of co-conspirators habe been convicted or pleaded guilty.”This is a huge victory for the insurance industry. It’s millions of dollars in possible savings,” said Ralph Garcia of the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
- Weston chiropractor Dr. Aaron Freedlander, Hollywood licensed massage therapist Abner Llenderrozo, Daviel Castro-Martinez of West Palm Beach, and Elias Munguia of Miami, have pleaded to charges that they staged auto accidents so that they could defraud insurance companies.
Meanwhile, Sharah Simone Manning of Greenacres has been charged with filing false PIP claims for medical treatment. In one instance, she said she was a passenger in an accident in Boynton Beach when investigators found she arrived after the fact. Her insurance company paid $14,000 in claims to a chiropractic center in Delray Beach.
- In neighboring Lake Worth, Yoel Bravo-Navaro, 33, has been charged with PIP fraud, vehicle accident fraud and grand theft. Police say he submitted $20,000 in false claims after being recruited to participate in a staged car accident. He and another man submitted insurance claims to Forest Hill Rehabilitation Center, New York Medical Rehab Center in Lake Clarke Shores, and VIVA X-Ray Medical.
- Jonathan Gualberto, 24, of Deerfield Beach, has been charged with PIP-related fraud charges totaling $127,739. Police uncovered more than $200,000 in insurance claims for car accidents in which no one was injured. They say that Gualberto masterminded a scheme that took money from four insurance companies.