South Florida

Is that car crash real? No way, feds say, and arrest 3 in medical fraud

Miami-Dade police and Allstate employees demonstrate detecting a staged crash.
Miami-Dade police and Allstate employees demonstrate detecting a staged crash. Sun Sentinel File/2011

Federal agents have arrested two women and a man, after linking them to a ring that staged fake car crashes to defraud insurance companies through massage therapy and chiropractor services for “victims” who didn’t need medical treatment, according to federal court records.

The ring operated between 2012 and 2014, but it was only this month that agents busted the group.

In all, the defendants pocketed more than $1.6 million over two years, according to court documents.

The defendants — Guillermo García, 46, Mayre López, 39, and Taymi González, 35 — pleaded not guilty and are awaiting trial.

The case began in December 2012 and continued until at least September 2014 in Miami-Dade and other parts of South Florida, according to the indictment handed down Aug. 4.

Federal investigators say the defendants and others not identified in the indictment conspired to send mailers with fraudulent printed information.

The purpose of the conspiracy, according to the indictment, was to file fraudulent claims to auto insurance companies for medical treatment for the “victims.”

According to the indictment, López served as owner of Rehabilitation Tomasa, offering therapeutic massage and chiropractic services to the “victims” of staged collisions or real crashes, but who did not need treatment.

González, López and García helped prepare fraudulent claims to insurance companies to justify treatment at Tomasa.

The three defendants also trained “victims” on what they should say to insurance representatives to avoid suspicion.

“Upon receiving the reimbursements from the automobile insurance companies via the United States Postal Service,” the indictment says, “Guillermo García, Mayre López, Taymi González, and others would deposit the checks into bank accounts controlled by García, López and others, and then convert the proceeds to cash in order to pay the recruiters, accident participants and clinic employees, and to enrich themselves.”

During the period of the alleged scam, the defendants received payments totaling $1,695,543.46, according to the indictment.

The claims were submitted to different insurance companies, including Allstate Insurance Company, Geico, Infinity, Metlife, Progressive, State Farm and Travelers of Florida.