Central Florida Clinic Owner and Co-Conspirators Arrested for PIP Fraud
Contact: Ashley Carr
WINTER HAVEN, Fla. – The Florida Division of Insurance Fraud today announced the arrest of Dr. Douglas Price, owner of the Florida Pain Trauma and Injury Clinic in Auburndale, and three others on charges related the operation of a complex PIP fraud scam. Dr. Price, along with Paulin Sanon and Sonya Rivera of Haines City, and Juliena Julien of Winter Haven are accused of recruiting patients to visit Dr. Price’s clinic for treatment of fake injuries following staged accidents.
Following an October 2014 staged accident, Juliena Julien unknowingly recruiting an undercover police officer to assist with their scheme. Julien requested that the officer visit the Florida Pain Trauma and Injury Clinic to report fraudulent injuries and stated that he would receive monetary compensation for doing so.
Between October 2014 and March 2015, an investigation uncovered evidence that Dr. Price’s Auburndale and Tampa clinics were engaged in patient brokering, and also that clinic staff were performing treatments that they were not qualified or licensed to perform. Dr. Price and his associate, Sonya Rivera, offered $500 as compensation for 15 clinic visits, and an additional $500 after 25 visits to the clinic for treatment of injuries that did not exist. A monetary offer was also extended for the recruitment of additional individuals to attend the clinic.
Based on their roles in the scheme, Dr. Price will be charged with three counts of patient brokering, a 3rd degree felony; Sonya Rivera and Paulin Sanon, one of Dr. Price’s marketers, will both be charged with one count of patient brokering; and Juliena Julien will be charged with the unlicensed practice of healthcare.
The National Insurance Crime Bureau, the Winter Haven, Haines City and Auburndale Police Departments, along with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and Bristol West Insurance Company assisted with the investigation, and the case will be prosecuted by Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Office of the Statewide Prosecutor.
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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).