JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The owner of the Indian Rehabilitation Center, Inc. is behind bars on charges of insurance fraud and the center is closed after a six-month investigation by State Attorney Angela Corey's office.
A release from Corey's office said her employees worked with the Florida's Division of Insurance Fraud on the investigation, which began in July 2012.
At that time an insurance carrier raised a red flag about potentially fraudulent activity going on at the clinic, which is located at 3636 University Blvd.
The investigation focused on people staging automobile accidents in order to file false insurance claims, the release said.
Authorities recently shut down the Indian Rehabilitation Clinic Inc.
Police arrested Valerie Marshall, a licensed massage therapist from Tampa, who owned the clinic last week at her Tampa home. The release said the 24-year-old is accused of opening the Jacksonville clinic to treat people injured in the staged automobile crash.
The release said investigators determined Marshall opened the clinic in September 2011 as a straw owner for other people who actually oversaw the day to day operations.
The State Attorney's Office said the scheme worked by having recruiters pay accident participants to stage a crash, fake injury and then sign paperwork claiming they received treatment at the clinic. The treatment never happened, the release said, but the clinic would still bill the participants' insurance carrier for Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage.
The Florida "No Fault" law requires insurers to provide PIP coverge of $10,000 per person.
From March to October 2012, the release said at least 19 claims were reported to the National Insurance Crime Bureau. In all, 11 insurance carriers reported incidents in that time, the release said.
The investigation found that during that period the clinic faked treatment for approximately 80 patients received more than $228,000 from insurance providers. That total does not include bodily injury amounts, according to the release.
The release said law enforcement arrested 19 people for their involvement as accident participants, accident facilitators, clinic billing personnel and clinic managers.
The people arrested are:
- Valerie Marshall - clinic owner
- Yokayra Ramos - receptionist, biller, accident participant
- Roscoe Sawyer, Jr. - recruiter
- Edgard Fernandez-Romans - recruiter
- David Arteaga Torres - recruiter
- Kenneth Carrerro - recruiter
- Jonathan Robinson - accident participant
- Calvin Grier - accident participant
- Tara Buck - accident participant
- Niko Semedo - accident participant
- Tawaub Zahir - accident participant
- Samantha Daniel - accident participant
- Kathy Adams - accident participant
- Yilan Espinosa - accident participant
- Connor Certo - accident participant
- Lester Lopez - accident participant
- Julio Figueroa - accident participant
- Craig Graves - accident participant
- Ernando Valentin - accident participant
The release said the State Attorney's Office has six outstanding warrants for other people involved in the scheme.
Marshall is charged with schemes to defraud, false insurance claims over $100,000 and illegal operation of a health care clinic. If convicted, the release said she faces up to 35 years in prison.
The release said the other 18 people arrested have charges ranging from committing a staged motor vehicle accident to false insurance claims and schemes to defraud. If convicted, each person could face a minimum of 15 years in prison.
First Coast News