Arrests in SWFL clinic fraud sweep
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - An investigation into false personal injury claims led to the arrest of five people working at clinics in Fort Myers and Port Charlotte.
The arrests included clinic owners, massage therapists and chiropractors charged with patient brokering and solicitation in support of a large school personal injury protection (PIP) fraud ring.
“These arrests are another great win in the ongoing fight against PIP fraud in Florida,” said CFO Atwater. “I applaud the hard work of our investigators who are able to identify and shut down these destructive crime rings, which hurt Florida families by driving up insurance rates for everyone.”
The investigation by the Florida Department of Financial Services’ Division in partnership with Nationwide Insurance Company discovered that employees at Evans Rehab Center, located at 3949 Evans Avenue in Fort Myers and Charlotte Wellness and Rehab located at 4300 Kings Highway, Suite 205, in Port Charlotte, advised patients to sign documents for rehabilitation services for injuries that supposedly occurred during auto accidents.
The clinics are accused of billing insurance companies for fraudulent treatments that never occurred. The investigation also revealed that Charlotte Wellness was allegedly operating without the proper license.
Taken into custody were Gloria Feliz, 31, receptionist; Andres Bravo, 52, massage therapist; Joe Gevans, 51, facilitator; Gerard Jean Stephen Valere, 51, clinic owner; and Ronald Woodley, 63, chiropractor.
The department’s investigation was assisted by the Lee and Charlotte County Sheriff’s offices. Woodley, Gavens and Valere were booked into the Charlotte County Jail, and both Feliz and Bravos were booked into the Lee County Jail. The subjects are awaiting bond, and if convicted, they each face up to five years in prison.