Florida’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jeff Atwater announced a big personal insurance protection (PIP) bust in Tampa, reports the Sunshine Slate.
Fraud investigators posing as victims of auto accidents were encouraged by employees of various clinics to sign fraudulent treatment forms indicating medical services that they had never received.
The clinics included Tampa Rehab Center, Auto Injury Doctors of Tampa, and PVC Medical Center. After the forms were completed, the clinics submitted the fraudulent paperwork to insurance companies such as Nationwide, Farmers, Progressive, and 21st Century Insurance.
Facing up to 15 years in prison each for their crimes, the nine employees were arrested and charged with third-degree felonies related to “patient brokering and filing fraudulent insurance claims.”
A statewide grand jury report on exactly this type of PIP fraud noted that prosecutions are rare. “Unfortunately, a number of greedy and unscrupulous legal and medical professionals have turned that $10,000 coverage into their personal slush fund,” said the report. “The result is loss of coverage and marginal medical treatment for those who are injured, as well as higher insurance rates for all drivers.”
CFO Atwater encourages anyone with information about suspected PIP fraud to please call 1-800-378-0445. Tipsters can remain anonymous, and there are possible rewards of up to $25,000.