In September, 2013 three people were arrested in similar but unlinked PIP insurance fraud investigations in Miami, as reported by Jeff Atwater, Florida’s Chief Financial Officer. Atwater has played a pivotal role alongside Governor Rick Scott in a campaign to reform PIP laws and stamp out auto insurance fraud.
“PIP fraud schemes drive up auto insurance rates for all Floridians, so we must do everything we can to put a stop to them. I applaud our investigators for their diligence in bringing these fraudsters to justice,” Atwater stated in an interview with the Claims Journal.
Chiropractor David Louis Hirschenson was arrested for soliciting accident victims to fraudulently obtain vehicle crash reports. Florida Department of Financial Services’ Division of Insurance Fraud conducted an investigation concluding that Hirschenson used fraudulent media credentials to solicit accident victims and obtain crash reports illegally. Hirschenson was charged with 19 separate counts of obtaining illegal crash reports and one count of solicitation.
A separate investigation led detectives to discover a husband and wife team, Nester Sanchez and Chakira Vila Puentes. The pair owned the C & N Therapy Center, an unlicensed accident-injury clinic in Miami. They hired a licensed massage therapist to pose as a shell owner of the clinic and billed insurance companies for at least $353,000 in fraudulent PIP benefits. The clinic collected at least $212,000 as a result of the fraudulent claims.