Clinic Manager Gets 5.5 Year Sentence for Role in Staged Accident RingRings & Mills, s, Staged Accidents — By Trace America on May 30, 2012 at 3:15 PM
May 25th was not a very good day for Oscar Luis Franco Padron. He was sentenced to five and half years in prison for PIP fraud, due to his role in several staged accidents.
According to the FL PIP Guide, Padron managed several clinics and recruited patients to perpetrate the fraud. Along with his prison term, Padron was also was ordered to pay $4.35 million in restitution.
U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer stated, “This massive ring orchestrated phony automobile accidents and made a living by defrauding insurance companies of millions of dollars. … Not only were the insurance companies defrauded, but this scheme also hurt consumers as our insurance costs continue to soar because of fraud.”
A State Attorney’s Office press release details how Padron and others perpetrated the fraud: by pleading guilty, the defendants admitted that they and others would find individuals who had gotten in car accidents and had car insurance from certain companies that they preferred. In recorded conversations, the “recruiters” used the Spanish word perro, which means dog, for the person who caused the staged accident and another Spanish slang for women to describe the “victims.”
There were 15 other individuals involved in the scheme as well, and they are: Vladimir Lopez, Lazaro Vigoa Mauri, aka Lazaro Vigoa, Joaquin Ross, aka Joaquin Ross Vasquez or Quinito, Lisbet Leon, aka Lisbet Leon Machado, Aureliano Diaz, Carmen Venegas, Yida Bella, aka La Gorda, Gloria Patricia Cintron, aka Patty, Veronica Riofrio, aka Vero, Ketty Gonzalez, Ernesto Miralles, Julio Fernandez Delgado, Alex Anoldo Flores, and Zachary Keith Stuhler.
To carry out the scheme, the recruiters would find drivers, often by utilizing their own friends/family members to participate. Under Florida’s “No Fault” insurance law, insurers must provide PIP coverage of $10,000 per person.
Once the recruiters found the participants, they coached the participants on how to perform the staged accident, what to say to the police officer who responded to the scene and how to claim they were injured.
The accident participants were then directed by the recruiters to chiropractic clinics that were controlled by co-defendants. The staged accident participants were instructed to sign numerous blank treatment forms that would later be submitted indicating that they had visited the clinic on a number of occasions for treatment, although they may have visited the clinic only once or twice.
During their visits, some of the participants received either no treatment at all or only a short exam or treatment, even though the paperwork would indicate that a full and lengthy exam and treatment was received. Some of the co-defendants –Leon, Diaz, Bello, and Gonzalez, are all licensed massage therapists who will lose their licenses.
Padron and co-defendant Ross also admitted to converting the deposits of the mail fraud proceeds to cash in a way that avoided the $10,000 currency transaction reporting requirement.
Two of the co-defendants would write a series of checks, made payable either to different individuals that would be cashed on the same day, or made payable to the same individual that would be cashed on successive days. Oftentimes several co-defendants would go to the bank together to cash checks simultaneously, but each check would be written for less than the required $10,000, typically about $9,000.
The clinics involved in this scheme include the Chiropractic Office of South Florida and Healthcare ’R Us in Palm Springs, and New York Medical and Rehab Center in Lake Clarke Shores.
Lopez and Vigoa Mauri are still on the run.
This post is authored by Trace America.