State Farm has filed suit against a wealthy Florida chiropractor behind the medical and legal referral service, 1-800-ASK-GARY, meant for auto accident victims. The insurer alleges Gary Kompothecras, known as “Dr. Gary,” is involved in a “massive fraud scheme,” which has led to State Farm paying Kompothecras-owned Physicians Group more than $19 million since 2005.
According to the federal suit filed in the Middle District of Florida, Kompothecras’ ASK-GARY referral service has never referred any auto accident victim to any other healthcare provider other than Physicians Group. Additionally, Kompothecras’ referral service accepts money from personal injury attorneys in return to obtain client referrals, alleges State Farm. Some attorneys then send their clients to Physicians Group for treatment, adds the insurer in the lawsuit.
“The driving force behind the Defendants’ scheme is to exhaust their unsuspecting patients’ limited no-fault benefits, without regard to whether the patients may have health insurance that might otherwise cover some or all of Physicians Group’s charges, thereby preserving their no-fault benefits for other medical services that the patients may truly need,” State Farm alleges.
The suit also names two men, David Balot and William Sigelakis, owners of “shell companies” set up to “facilitate the illusion that ASK-GARY is an independent and legitimate” operation. Sigelakis, Kompothecras’ cousin, is owner of WS Marketing, formed in 2007. WS allegedly owns and operates ASK-GARY. The Physicians Group calls the lawsuit “frivolous and malicious.” In a statement, the group says the litigation is a “desperate act by State Farm,” and the insurer will “be exposed to claims for malicious prosecution by pursuing this absurd action.”
Physicians Group says State Farm owes more than $9 million on more than 1000 claims. The healthcare group also says ASK-GARY does not refer all accident victims to it, and attorneys are not required or advised to send clients to the Physicians Group.
State Farm says it has a sworn affidavit from an attorney who received referrals from ASK-GARY.