Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Deputies uncover insurance fraud at Tampa clinic

TAMPA — After documenting several instances of fraud, Hillsborough deputies executed a search warrant at a Tampa clinic on Friday and arrested four of the people they say are involved.

Since August, undercover detectives posing as patients have been paid by Heisha Medical & Therapy Center to sign blank insurance forms, allowing the clinic to bill for services never rendered, the Sheriff's Office said.

Deputies also witnessed a staged crash set up by the clinic's "crash coordinator."

According to the Sheriff's Office, drivers intentionally crashed their vehicles at a prearranged location. Then they called police and filed a false report, according to deputies.

Each participant received between $500 to $1,500.

On Friday, deputies descended on the clinic, at 4620 N Habana Ave., near St. Joseph's Hospital. The four arrested Friday are:

• Office manager Reinier Prieto Santurio, 33, of Tampa, charged with patient brokering.

• Jose Victores Ruiz, 47, of Tampa, charged with filing a false report.

• "Crash coordinator" Jesus Fernandez, 51, of Tampa, charged with filing a false report and patient brokering.

• Legal assistant Ana Belen Valdes, 26, of Tampa, charged with soliciting motor vehicle tort claims.

Deputies anticipate they will make additional arrests.

Personal injury fraud is a fast-growing crime that experts say costs Florida motorists about $80 extra in insurance premiums each year.

Deputies uncover insurance fraud at Tampa clinic 01/11/13 [Last modified: Friday, January 11, 2013 9:42pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. SB lanes on I-75 closed at State Road 52 in Pasco


    Southbound lanes on Interstate 75 are closed in Pasco County, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

  2. These two documents illustrate how Florida has made it harder to access inspection reports of nursing homes, heavily censoring what the public can see. In the foreground is a document obtained from a federal agency that details the findings of a Feb. 2016 inspection at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, where 10 patients died after Hurricane Irma. Behind it is the state's version of the same document, showing how it has been redacted before being released to the public. [Miami Herald]
  3. Amber Alert canceled after Bradenton siblings found in Alabama

    Public Safety

    An Amber Alert was canceled early Friday morning for four Bradenton siblings who were taken by their mother, who authorities said does not have custody of the children.

    An Amber Alert has been issued for four Bradenton siblings who were taken by their mother, who does not have custody of the children. [Florida Department of Law Enforcement]

  4. Cue the Scott Frost to Nebraska speculation


    Nebraska shook up the college sports world Thursday afternoon when it fired athletic director Shawn Eichorst.

    And that should scare UCF fans.