Junel Basile, an employee of Metro Chiropractic & Wellness Center, federal authorities say, was paid to recruit people to participate in staged car accidents and meticulously plan the crashes. The manager at Metro Chiropractic, Sergei Kusyakov, would then pay Florida Hospital employees to steal patient data so the center could solicit legitimate car accident victims for business, according to federal-court records.
This is a ringing example of the kind of insurance fraud that costs Americans billions of dollars each year. As a motorist, you could be the intended target of such scams, where a driver would purposely involve you in an accident in order to file a false claim for injuries that a doctor would substantiate in order to collect monies from car insurance companies in Orlando.
Under Florida’s personal-injury-protection (PIP) requirement for auto insurance, insurance companies are required to pay up to $10,000 per person for medical treatment, regardless of who is at fault. Authorities say medical clinics that run staged-accident schemes make patients receive unnecessary treatments or bill for services never rendered, and exhaust the $10,000 PIP limits as quickly as possible.
Aware of these fraudulent practices, Florida lawmakers made sweeping changes to the PIP system last year, but recently a judge found the new law unconstitutional. The state is now appealing that ruling.
Haitians recruited to participate in scams
The FBI learned about Basile’s scheme through the cooperation of an informant who aided authorities because, according to the criminal complaint, the person objected to the fact that members of the local Haitian community were being recruited to participate in these staged accidents. The 36-year-old Basile, who is Haitian, tried to plan an “accident” in which the informant would play the part of “victim”.
These unlawful practices will only drive up the cost of car insurance in Orlando for law-abiding people. If you feel you are a victim of a staged accident you should immediately report it to your local authorities.