Calif. Chiropractor, Two Associates Nabbed in Workers’ Comp Scam Costing More than $10 Million

January 6, 2005

A Modesto, California chiropractor and two employees were arrested early Thursday on charges that they repeatedly billed for services that were unnecessary or never rendered from 1996 through 2004, potentially costing insurers more than $10 million.

Chiropractor Wilmer Dorado Origel, 44, of Modesto, is the owner and operator of the businesses involved in the alleged fraud. His associates, Rebecca Marie Benedict, 44, of Modesto, and Robin Elaine Barney, 40, of Oakdale, were also taken into custody. All three were booked into the San Joaquin County jail and charged with multiple felony counts, including insurance fraud, grand theft, and practicing medicine without certification. Origel’s bail was set at $1 million, while bail for Benedict and Barney was set at $300,000 each.

Investigators believe that Origel conspired with his associates to illegally over-bill workers’ compensation and auto insurance carriers for services never rendered, services not medically necessary, and for services beyond the scope of their licensed authority to perform. Origel owned and controlled Med-1 Medical Center P.C., and Unique Healthcare Management Inc., both based in Modesto.

Med-1 Medical Center has had clinics located at various times in Modesto, Stockton, Sacramento, and Turlock. Unique Healthcare Management Inc. is a medical billing company which performed the billing and other accounting services for Med-1 Medical Center and various other medical provider businesses that are believed associated with Origel. Unique Healthcare Management Inc. is believed to have been solely owned and operated by Origel and managed with the assistance of Administrator Robin Barney and Accounting Manager Rebecca Benedict.

The investigation is an ongoing joint effort by the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office and the California Department of Insurance.

Significant assistance has reportedly been given to police authorities by investigators with St. Paul Traveler’s Insurance, State Compensation Insurance Fund, Progressive Insurance Company, State Farm Insurance Company, Zenith Insurance Company, and Republic Indemnity Insurance Company. The National Insurance Crime Bureau also provided assistance with the investigation.

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