CFO Jeff Atwater Announces Nine Miami PIP Fraud Arrests
Contact: Ashley Carr
(850) 413- 2842
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater today announced nine arrests for personal injury protection (PIP) fraud in Miami. Charged in eight separate cases involving seven staged accidents, these individuals were arrested and charged for their involvement in the filing of more than $242,000 in fraudulent billings submitted to 11 insurance carriers.
“While their injuries may have been fake, PIP fraud is real and it is not a victimless crime,” said CFO Atwater. “When insurance carriers absorb such high-dollar losses to fraud, we all pay in the form of higher insurance premiums. I’m thankful to our dedicated investigative team for shutting down this fraud ring.”
Most PIP fraud rings involve several components that are each monetarily driven – the organizer, who recruits and arranges for individuals to stage, or intentionally cause, motor vehicle accidents; the patient broker, who convinces the participants to seek post-accident medical treatments for non-existent injuries; and sometimes licensed medical providers, who agree to sign off on falsified medical treatment documents in exchange for payments billed under the participants’ personal injury protection benefits as part of their automobile insurance policies. The Division of Insurance Fraud arrested these nine individuals for acting in one or more of these capacities.
Participants in these staged accidents were referred to at least 13 different South Florida medical clinics. This case remains ongoing and additional arrests are expected.
Anyone with information about 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 nearly $350,000 to nearly 60 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.
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Chief Financial Officer 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 providing transparency and accountability in spending. Follow the activities of the department on Facebook (FLDFS) and Twitter (@FLDFS).