CFO Jeff Atwater Announces Two Arrests in Undercover Sarasota PIP Clinic Sting
Contact: Anna Alexopoulos
TALLAHASSEE – Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater announced today the arrests of Nerber A. Iglesias, 40, and Michael Borkowski, 42, for patient brokering and involvement in an ongoing personal injury protection (PIP) fraud scheme in Manatee County. These arrests were the result of an undercover sting.
"This investigation is a prime example of the organized nature of PIP fraud rings in Florida," CFO Atwater said. "Those who cheat the system to make a buck are stealing from every honest Floridian. I applaud the hard work of our fraud investigators and the chiropractor who worked with us from the inside to bring these criminals to justice."
Rep. Jim Boyd (R-Bradenton), sponsor of the 2012 PIP legislative reforms, joined law enforcement on the bust.
"Every dollar of insurance premiums stolen by criminals is a dollar taken away from honest Floridians," Rep. Boyd said. "I was proud to see Florida’s anti-fraud efforts first hand, and I commend CFO Atwater’s leadership on this issue."
An investigation by the Florida Department of Financial Services’ Division of Insurance Fraud revealed that Iglesias approached a Sarasota chiropractor about becoming the straw owner of Garden Relief Center, LLC. The chiropractor contacted law enforcement and, under the direction of the department, applied for a clinic exemption certificate to begin operating the facility. The chiropractor, working undercover, was also contacted by a local body shop owner named Michael Borkowski, who made arrangements to provide accident patients to the clinic for a fee. During the course of the investigation in 2011, Garden Relief Center submitted almost $40,000 in fraudulent insurance claims to six different insurance companies.
Iglesias and Borkowski were booked into Hillsborough County Jail and charged with eight counts of patient brokering. If convicted on all charges, they each face up to 5 years in prison.
Anyone with information about these or any other incidents of suspected insurance fraud is asked to call 1-800-378-0445. Citizens who provide tips can remain anonymous. The Department of Financial Services to date has awarded almost $275,000 to more than 40 citizens as part of its Anti-Fraud Reward Program. The program rewards individuals up to $25,000 for information that directly leads to an arrest and conviction in an insurance fraud scheme.
Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jeff Atwater, a statewide elected official, oversees the Department of Financial Services. CFO Atwater’s priorities include fighting financial fraud, abuse and waste in government, reducing government spending and regulatory burdens that chase away businesses, and prov iding transparency and accountability in spending