Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater announced the arrests of three individuals in Fort Lauderdale for their alleged involvement in a staged accident that resulted in fraudulent personal injury protection (PIP) billings in excess of $80,000.
Atwater also announced the conviction of David Torres, a recruiter for Indian Rehabilitation Center in Jacksonville, on eight counts of participating in staged accidents.
The DFS’ insurance fraud unit investigators said they discovered that a U-Haul truck that supposedly crashed into a parked Dodge Caravan with eight passengers was in fact a staged accident. The occupants of the caravan filed fraudulent claims in excess of $80,000 from multiple clinics in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, according to the investigators. Claudio Boyett, Leslie Sanchez Martinez and Claudia Hoy have all been charged with insurance fraud, and more arrests resulting from this incident are expected.
According to officials, Torres helped arrange staged accidents and subsequently file fraudulent PIP claims for the participants through Indian Rehabilitation Center to their insurance providers. He has been ordered to pay more than $109,000 in restitution to eight victim insurance companies. He was also sentenced to five years in the Florida State Prison system.
Since his arrest, Torres has been cooperating with law enforcement, which has led to additional arrests and convictions, official said.