New York Surgeon Pleads Guilty to Participating In $31M Trip-and-Fall Fraud

October 3, 2022

A New York doctor last week pled guilty to performing unnecessary surgeries as part of a scheme by doctors and lawyers to obtain insurance reimbursements and other compensation from fraudulent trip-and-fall accidents, according to federal prosecutors. A litigation funding company previously pled guilty to involvement in the same scheme.

U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams announced that Sady Ribeiro, a New York-licensed pain management doctor and surgeon, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with the scheme.

Williams said Adrian Alexander, the owner of a litigation funding company who was also involved in the trip-and-fall fraud scheme, previously pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud on August 30, 2022.

“As alleged, Sady Ribeiro abused his professional license and position of trust by performing medically unnecessary surgeries to increase the value of fraudulent trip-and-fall lawsuits. In carrying out the scheme, Adrian Alexander, who funded many of the fraudulent lawsuits, Sady Ribeiro, and their co-conspirators preyed upon the most vulnerable members of society in order to enrich themselves,” Williams stated.

According to the indictment, during the course of the fraud scheme, the participants attempted to defraud insurers and property owners of more than $31 million.

The scheme as outlined by prosecutors involved the participants recruiting more than 400 individuals to stage or falsely claim to have suffered trip-and-fall accidents at particular locations throughout the New York City area, when in fact, they had suffered no such accidents. It was also common for scheme participants to recruit patients from homeless shelters in New York City.

Eventually, at the direction of the lawyers who filed the fraudulent lawsuits on their behalf, scheme participants began to stage trip-and-fall accidents by going to a location and deliberately falling. Common accident sites used during the fraud scheme included cellar doors, cracks in concrete sidewalks, and potholes, prosecutors said.

The “patients” would then be referred to specific attorneys who would file personal injury lawsuits against the owners of the accident sites and/or their insurance companies, the indictment says.

The “patients” were also instructed to receive ongoing treatment from certain chiropractors and doctors, including Ribeiro, and they were told to undergo surgery. As an incentive to getting surgery, the recruited “patients” were paid $1,000 and $1,500 after they completed surgery.

According to the indictment, Ribeiro performed back surgeries, among other medical procedures, on nearly 200 patients, and paid them cash kickbacks in exchange for patient referrals.

As part of his plea agreement, Ribeiro agreed to forfeit $513,005 to the government and to make restitution in the amount of $3,928,133, according to officials.

As part of his plea agreement, Alexander agreed to forfeit $659,001 to the government and to make restitution in the amount of $3,928,133.

Ribeiro is scheduled to be sentenced on January 5, 2023. Alexander is scheduled to be sentenced on November 30, 2022.

Topics Fraud New York

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