The United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida announced recently that 11 defendants were charged due to their roles in a staged accident ring. So far, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has charged 26 defendants in less than 12 months for their involvement.
In the two separate indictments, defendants Obelio Rodriguez, a.k.a Ovy, 43; Maria Molina, a.k.a Cary, 41; Yuliet Tapanes, 25; Moises Madrid, 40, a licensed massage therapist; Dagoberto Milian Lopez, a.k.a Lavadora, 56; Amaurys Hernandez, a.k.a El Manco, 40; Gilda Garcia, a.k.a Hilda, a.k.a La Que Carta, 49; Javier De La Caridad Troncoso, 45; Ana Ovando, 42; and Janice Velez, 39, were each charged. They all received one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud. Defendant Jennifer Adams, 38, a licensed chiropractic physician, was also charged in an information with one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud. The charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment.
These defendants were all allegedly trying to take advantage of Florida’s “No Fault” insurance law, under which insurers must provide Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage of $10,000 per person.
The defendants allegedly unlawfully enriched themselves by submitting fraudulent PIP claims for chiropractic and massage therapy treatments for individuals who had participated in staged automobile accidents. The defendants recruited individuals to participate in staged automobile accidents and instructed participants on how to conduct staged accidents; what to tell responding police officers, insurance company representatives, and independent medical examination (IME) physicians; how to collect police reports; and what clinic to go to for treatment, even though the participants did not need treatment.
Court documents also note that the defendants prepared fraudulent insurance documents. It would be claimed that the treatments were medically necessary and that the patients had received them. The defendants and their co-conspirators submitted these claims to various automobile insurance companies via the United States mail.
Adams apparently served as named owner of the chiropractic clinics, even though the other defendants would maintain financial control of the businesses.
The clinics involved include the Chiropractic Office of South Florida and Healthcare ‘R Us in Palm Springs; New York Medical and Rehab Center and Florida Mango Massage Therapy Center in Lake Clarke Shores; OVY Rehabilitation Medical Center, HHR Rehab Medical Center, Chiropractic Center of Palm Beach Corp, and KCC, all located in West Palm Beach.
Defendants Rodriguez and Lopez are currently at large and considered fugitives. Defendant Molina was arraigned on June 19. Defendant Tapanes was released on a $100,000 bond and arraigned on July 2. Defendant Madrid was released on a $50,000 bond and arraigned on June 12. Defendant Hernandez was arraigned on June 19. Defendant Garcia was released on a $100,000 bond. Defendant Troncoso was scheduled for a bond hearing and arraignment on June 20. Defendant Ana Ovando was scheduled for arraignment on June 20. Defendant Velez was arraigned before Magistrate Judge Brannon, where she pled not guilty, and was released on a $100,000 bond. Defendant Adams was released on a $50,000 bond and scheduled for arraignment on July 2.
No trial date has been set for any of the defendants.