Florida officials said they have arrested a licensed massage therapist, a physician’s assistant and 14 massage clinic patients on charges of insurance fraud and grand theft as part of an undercover sting.
Officials said Judith Gonzalez, 39, owner of Flamingo Health Corp. in Miami, allegedly billed insurance companies nearly $250,000 in fraudulent insurance claims and coached patients on how to commit personal injury protection (PIP) fraud.
The investigation determined that Gonzalez directed undercover officers posing as patients to sign blank treatment forms and coached them on how to answer questions from their insurance company.
Gonzalez, a licensed massage therapist since 2006, is known to have formerly owned and operated other Miami clinics including Fontainebleau Center, Theramed Service and Westchester Service Corporations.
The state’s Division of Insurance Fraud (DIF) and the Miami-Dade Police Department Public Corruption Investigations Bureau conducted the undercover investigation. Additionally, DIF was assisted by the U.S. Secret Service during the execution of a search warrant at Flamingo Health Corp.
“Fraud clinics such as this one were the driving force behind much-needed PIP reforms that passed during the 2012 legislative session,” Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater said. “My office will remain diligent in putting those who abuse the system for their own personal gain behind bars.”
The Department of Financial Services to date has awarded almost $275,000 to more than 40 citizens as part of its anti-fraud reward program. The program rewards individuals up to $25,000 for information that directly leads to an arrest and conviction in an insurance fraud scheme.
Anyone with information about these or any other incidents of suspected insurance fraud is asked to call 1-800-378-0445. Citizens who provide tips can remain anonymous.
The Miami-Dade Office of State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle is prosecuting the cases.