CFO Sink Announces Arrest of Eight PIP Scammers in Continued PIP Sweep Arrests
CONTACT: Kevin Cate or Jennifer Hirst (850) 413-2842
Two Clinics Served with Search Warrants; Owners and Employee’s Taken to Jail
TALLAHASSEE— Florida CFO Alex Sink’s Division of Insurance Fraud (DIF) today joined the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) to announce a staged vehicle accident Personal Injury Protection (PIP) sweep, including clinic owners and workers involved in PIP fraud scams around the state.
“Staged accidents put every Floridian at risk, both physically and financially,” said CFO Alex Sink. “I am taking aggressive action every day to get these scammers off our streets and behind bars where they belong.”
· CFO Sink investigators arrested Miguel Costillo Rivero, 47, outside of his Tampa residence this morning after an investigation showed that Rivero was soliciting people to be part of staged accidents, offering money in return for participation. Superior Injury Care, Inc., a Tampa, Fla., clinic received false PIP claims that provided the clinic with reimbursement funds from insurance companies on services never rendered. Rivero is being charged with Patient Brokering and False/Fraudulent Insurance Claims, both 3rd degree felonies.
· Superior Injury Care clinic therapist Courtney Braden and receptionist Blanca Luz Villalobos were also arrested in the Rivero case, charged with Patient Brokering and False/Fraudulent Insurance Claims, both 3rd degree felonies.
· CFO Sink’s detectives were initially introduced to Miguel Castillo Rivero by David Vazquez Perez. Perez was interviewed in Pasco County with assistance by the Pasco County Sheriff’s office, regarding a staged accident. Perez admitted taking participants to Rivero’s house, where they received payments and reminders to return to the clinic once a week to fill out insurance paperwork. Perez has been booked into the Pasco County Jail. Perez was charged with one count of False/Fraudulent Insurance Claim.
· Tampa Pain Rehab, LLC Director Livan Diaz Acosta, 34, and therapist Jonathan Alfonso Rosero, 23, were also arrested this morning on the same PIP related charges - Patient Brokering and False/Fraudulent Insurance Claims which are both 3rd degree felonies. Acosta and Rosero have been booked into the Hillsborough County Jail.
· CFO Sink’s investigators arrested Joel Bauta Lopez, 37, and Claudia Valdes Diaz, 21, owners of Ganesha Medical Center Corporation located in Miami, Fla., yesterday on charges of insurance fraud, grand theft and operating an unlicensed clinic while attempting to collect more than $40,000.00 in fraudulent insurance claims. The charges stem from a previous arrest of both suspects in May 2009 for participating in a staged accident ring under a former business name, E & B Rehabilitation Center. After their first arrest, they posted bond and reopened a clinic under a new name, Ganesha Medical Center Corporation; continuing to work without a business license. Since Lopez and Diaz committed this new crime while out on bond for their 2009 arrest, they could be held without bond until their trial. Both suspects were booked into the Miami-Dade County Jail yesterday afternoon and each charged with one count of operating without a license, eight counts of Insurance Fraud and eight counts of Grand Theft.
These arrests are part of an ongoing PIP sweep by DIF that began earlier this year through partnership with the New Port RicheyPolice Department, Pasco County Sheriff’s Office, Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, Direct Insurance., Met Life Insurance and NICB. Further arrests are pending around the State. For more information on PIP fraud in Florida, visit DIF’s website at http://www.myfloridacfo.com/fraud/
CFO Sink’s Division of Insurance Fraud made more than 830 insurance fraud-related arrests in the last fiscal year, and investigates various forms of insurance fraud relating to health, life, auto, property and workers’ compensation insurance policies. Depending on the estimated loss amount, the Department of Financial Services will pay up to $25,000 for information directly leading to an arrest and conviction. Anyone with information about this or any other suspected insurance fraud is asked to call CFO Sink’s Fraud Fighters Hotline at 1-800-378-0445 or visit www.MyFloridaCFO.com/fraud
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