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.