Three Miami residents have been arrested on grand theft and fraud charges stemming from allegations that they created fraudulent vehicle accident reports and passed them off to various clinics that billed insurance companies for more than $90,000, Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher announced.
Gallagher and the Legislature are looking at ways to strengthen laws against fraud that targets the state’s Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance system. Two years ago, the Legislature, restricted access to police accident reports. As a result, reports of staged crashes and false accident reports have increased.
An investigation by the Department of Financial Services, Division of Insurance Fraud, led to the arrests of Marcia Al Mistarihi, her son Stephen Bolanos, and Alvaro Arribas. Al Mistarihi is charged with 11 counts each of grand theft, insurance fraud, and uttering forged instruments. She also is charged with three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor for allegedly taking two children to clinics as crash victims.
Arribas is charged with two counts each of grand theft, insurance fraud, and uttering forged instruments, and one count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Bolanos is charged with two counts each of grand theft, insurance fraud, and uttering forged instruments and one count of unauthorized possession of a driver’s license.
Miami fraud investigators said the scheme began to unravel because the three would shop the same fraudulent accident reports to more than one clinic. In this investigation, Al Mistarihi, Arribas and Bolanos are charged for claims made for four separate fraudulent crashes between Jan. 8, 2001, and Nov. 20, 2002. As a result of their reported actions, 17 fraudulent claims totaling $93,024 were filed with two different insurance companies.
The investigation will continue, and more arrests are anticipated.
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