Two Florida men were arrested for patient brokering and involvement in an ongoing personal injury protection (PIP) fraud scheme in Manatee County. The arrests of Nerber A. Iglesias, 40, and Michael Borkowski, 42, were the result of an undercover sting, according to an announcement made by Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater.
“This investigation is a prime example of the organized nature of PIP fraud rings in Florida,” CFO Atwater said. “Those who cheat the system to make a buck are stealing from every honest Floridian. I applaud the hard work of our fraud investigators and the chiropractor who worked with us from the inside to bring these criminals to justice.”
Rep. Jim Boyd (R-Bradenton), sponsor of the 2012 PIP legislative reforms, joined law enforcement on the bust.
“Every dollar of insurance premiums stolen by criminals is a dollar taken away from honest Floridians,” Rep. Boyd said. “I was proud to see Florida’s anti-fraud efforts first hand, and I commend CFO Atwater’s leadership on this issue.”
An investigation by the Florida Department of Financial Services’ Division of Insurance Fraud revealed that Iglesias approached a Sarasota chiropractor about becoming the straw owner of Garden Relief Center, LLC. The chiropractor contacted law enforcement and, under the direction of the department, applied for a clinic exemption certificate to begin operating the facility. The chiropractor, working undercover, was also contacted by a local body shop owner named Michael Borkowski, who made arrangements to provide accident patients to the clinic for a fee. During the course of the investigation, Garden Relief Center submitted almost $40,000 in fraudulent insurance claims to six different insurance companies.
Iglesias and Borkowski were booked into Hillsborough County Jail and charged with eight counts of patient brokering. If convicted on all charges, they each face up to 5 years in prison.