(Photo: Generic car and truck after collision, AP)
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- Authorities in South Florida say 33 more people have been charged in a three-year crackdown on staged auto accidents used to defraud insurance companies out of millions of dollars.
Miami U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer said Thursday those charged included doctors, chiropractic clinic owners and therapists in Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties. Ferrer says the group staged auto accidents between 2006 and 2012, submitting false insurance claims through 21 clinics that were part of the conspiracy.
The charges are the latest in an investigation dubbed Operation Sledgehammer that has resulted in 92 arrests and restitution orders that $5 million be repaid to defrauded insurance companies. Ferrer says staged automobile accident fraud causes insurance rates to rise for all Florida drivers.
Charges include mail fraud, money laundering and conspiracy.