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CFO Jeff Atwater Announces Arrests of Winter Haven Massage Clinic Employees in Undercover PIP Fraud Sting

5/12/2011

Contact: Alexis Lambert
(850) 413-2842

TALLAHASSEE – Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater announced today the arrests of four Polk County men for their roles in a Personal Injury Protection (PIP) fraud scheme involving fraudulent medical billings to two insurance companies. 

Luther Crispin; 34, Glenn Moore; 30, and Maniacline Francois; 23, employees of a Winter Haven massage clinic, were arrested during an undercover operation on charges of insurance fraud and patient brokering.  Wilson Crispin; 30, was also arrested in the operation on charges of obstruction of justice. 

“Organized fraud rings continue to steal Floridian’s hard-earned dollars and undermine the intent of Florida’s PIP laws,” said CFO Atwater. “Thankfully, our Legislature responded this year by giving my office additional tools to use in our state’s ongoing battle against insurance fraud.”

CFO Atwater’s Department of Financial Services, Division of Insurance Fraud (DIF) in partnership with the Polk County Sherriff’s Office sent an undercover operative into Whitfield Chiropractic Massage Clinic, located at 2985 Avenue G NW in Winter Haven, who was subsequently treated for PIP benefits.  Moore, a licensed massage therapist, then billed the insurance company for more than $1,000 in services he never provided to the undercover officer.

The investigation also revealed that Crispin paid several patients $1,000 in cash to seek medical treatments they did not need at the Wellness Center of Tampa, located at 570 Ave. J SE in Winter Haven. 

All four men were booked into the Polk County Jail.  The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), Assurance America Insurance Company, and Bristol West Insurance Company also provided assistance in this case. 

These arrests come on the heels of the Florida Legislature approving reforms to include civil penalties for those convicted of auto insurance fraud, additional funding for fraud prosecutors in Tampa and Miami, two of the top five cities in the country for questionable medical claims associated with staged accidents, and authority for the CFO to pursue grants and donations to further bolster efforts to combat financial fraud.

Anyone with information regarding suspected insurance fraud is asked to call 1-800-378-0445. Individuals who provide tips can remain anonymous and are eligible for a reward of up to $25,000 for information that directly leads to an arrest and conviction in an insurance fraud scheme.  The Department of Financial Services to date has awarded almost $250,000 to approximately 40 citizens as part of its Anti-Fraud Reward Program.

Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, a statewide elected official and officer of the Florida Cabinet, oversees the Department of Financial Services including the Division of Insurance Fraud.  CFO Atwater’s priorities include fighting financial fraud, abuse and waste in government, reducing government spending and regulatory burdens that chase away businesses, and providing transparency and accountability in spending.