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Orlando Massage Therapist Charged with Theft in Fraudulent PIP Insurance Billings

10/31/2001

TALLAHASSEE - An Orlando massage therapist has been charged with second-degree grand theft for allegedly using another therapist's identity to collect $47,000 in fraudulent claims payments from 10 different auto insurance companies.

Robert A. Albiston, 34, of 808 Highland Ave., Apt. 5, surrendered last Thursday at the Orange County Jail. The charge was brought by the Department of Insurance, Division of Insurance Fraud, and is being prosecuted by the Office of Statewide Prosecution. If convicted, Albiston could face up to 15 years in prison in addition to fines and restitution.

According to state fraud investigators, Albiston fraudulently billed and obtained insurance payments from 10 insurance companies with offices in Hillsborough, Orange, Seminole, Polk, Alachua and Duval counties. The claims were for payment under the Personal Injury Protection (PIP) portion of the auto insurance coverage for 20 insureds involved in various auto accidents, but the billings occurred without the insureds' knowledge.

In the spring of 1998, Albiston was contracted to provide massage therapy services for patients of Orlando-based Access Healthcare, Inc. During that time, fraud investigators said, Albiston had access to patient billing information.

Soon after ending his work with Access Healthcare, Albiston entered a deal with another licensed massage therapist who, in exchange for anticipated client references, agreed to open a joint mailbox and checking account with Albiston. But after becoming aware that Albiston seemed to be receiving checks for services not rendered, the therapist ended the business arrangement with Albiston and contacted the Division of Insurance Fraud.

Investigators allege fraudulent claims were sent to USAA, Allstate, Colonial Insurance Company of California, Continental Casualty, Fortune, GEICO, Nationwide, Progressive, State Auto and State Farm.