N.Y. Medical Clinic Operator Caught in Accident Staging Scheme

March 2, 2007

A Buffalo, N.Y. medical clinic operator pleaded guilty this week for his role in a fraud scheme built around staged automobile accidents, according to officials.

Maxim Levin, 29, of Tonawanda became the 25th person to plead guilty in the case, brought by federal and state investigators against 30 people in August 2005.

Authorities said the group set up numerous accidents between 2001 and 2004 in order to defraud insurance companies out of tens of thousands of dollars.

Levin operated First Buffalo Medical clinic in the suburb of Williamsville for about 18 months beginning in 2001, where he would authorize treatment for participants in the bogus crashes, prosecutors said.

Clinic employees would create reports about nonexistent injuries or exaggerate other injuries unrelated to the staged collisions in order to be reimbursed for medical treatment from insurance companies, authorities said. Levin, who pleaded guilty to felony health care fraud, was responsible for about $297,900 in fraudulent payments.

As part of his plea, Levin also admitted to a drug charge _ conspiracy to possess and distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine from April 2003 to May 2004. Levin sold cocaine to an undercover FBI agent on several occasions, prosecutors said.

Under the plea agreement, the U.S. Attorney’s Office is expected to recommend a prison term of between 5 1/4 and 6 1/2 years when Levin is sentenced July 7.

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