7 Tampa Residents Arrested Following Two-Year PIP Fraud Investigation
Contact: Ashley Carr
TAMPA, Fla. – The Florida Department of Financial Services’ Division of Insurance Fraud today announced the arrests of seven Tampa residents following a two-year PIP fraud (Personal Injury Protection) investigation involving Integrated Healing Clinic in Tampa. The Division’s investigation discovered that clinic staff had filed several patient claims with multiple insurance carriers for prices that far exceeded actual treatment costs and, in some cases, for treatments that never took place.
“These individuals orchestrated a complex operation to defraud insurance companies and, ultimately, all Floridians,” said Deputy CFO Jay Etheridge. “I’m proud of the results of this collaborative investigation and hope this serves as a deterrent for anyone considering or currently engaged in similar criminal acts in our state.”
This extensive investigation revealed that clinic employee Minette St. Fleur operated as a recruiter, paying patients to go along with the scheme to file fraudulent claims. She was arrested and charged with insurance fraud and patient brokering.
The following clinic patients were arrested for their roles in this scheme:
• Sonthonax Ferdinand
• Marie Jean Gilles Valcin
• Marie Celestin
• Josue Aguste
• Elisena Louissaint
• Joseph D Pierre
The National Insurance Crime Bureau and several insurance companies were instrumental to the success of the investigation, including Geico, 21st Century Insurance, Direct General Insurance, Progressive, Safeco Insurance, State Farm Insurance and Liberty Mutual Insurance. The case will be prosecuted by the office of Hillsborough County State Attorney Mark A. Ober.
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 has awarded $365,000 to 63 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).