Broward County Chiropractor Arrested Following $1.5 Million Insurance Fraud Scam
Contact: Ashley Carr
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater today announced the arrest of Broward County Chiropractor Eric Wiegandt, 41, on multiple felony fraud charges related to a $1.5 million insurance fraud scheme. A joint state and federal investigation led by the Florida Division of Insurance Fraud revealed that Wiegandt allegedly orchestrated a scheme in which he fraudulently billed Blue Cross Blue Shield for services that were never rendered at his clinic, the Broward Spine and Rehab Center, located in Hollywood.
Investigators believe that between 2013 and early 2015, Eric Wiegandt fraudulently signed and submitted nearly $1.5 million worth of fictitious and falsely represented insurance claims. In return, Wiegandt received commission payments from BCBS in excess of $230,000.
In the early spring of 2014, following months of mismanagement and after losing his license for failure to complete continuing education requirements, Wiegandt was evicted from his practice location in Coral Gables and opened a new location in Hollywood. The Hollywood Police Department became aware of Wiegandt’s now unlicensed practice and arrested him for continuing to conduct insurance-related business without an active license.
Shortly after, the Hollywood Police Department brought in the Division of Insurance Fraud to review the insurance transactions related to the clinic’s day-to-day operations. As a result, investigators discovered that Blue Cross Blue Shield had flagged Eric Wiegandt during a proactive data analysis after recognizing that his practice produced exceptionally high totals in number of visits per patient and total amounts billed.
Records show that patients who previously visited Wiegandt’s Coral Gables location were allegedly receiving duplicative treatments in his newest Hollywood location, all of which were being billed to BCBS. After multiple interviews were conducted with the alleged patients, most were found to have never received treatments and many had never been to the Hollywood location.
Wiegandt was arrested on eight counts of healthcare fraud and the case is being prosecuted by the US Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of Florida. Multiple agencies contributed to the successful conclusion of this case including: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida, The Hollywood Police Department, as well as the Inspector General for the Federal Office of Personnel Management and the U.S. Postal Service.
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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).