A California medical clinic administrator and law office administator have been sentenced for insurance fraud. According to the California Department of Insurance, Magdalena Zanoletti, 54, a medical clinic administrator, and her husband, Ramon Alfonso Zanoletti, 53, a law office administrator, were sentenced in Los Angeles Superior Court for fraud that took in more than $100,000, which in this case is an aggravated white collar crime that enhances the sentence.
The Zanolettis were each sentenced to 22 years in state prison, and ordered to pay $200,000 in fines and $108,533 in restitution.
The sentence comes as a result of nearly three weeks of trial. Magdalena was convicted on 38 counts of insurance fraud; Ramon was convicted on 19 felony counts of insurance fraud and the unauthorized practice of law. The case was prosecuted by Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Alker.
In March 2004, the Los Angeles Auto Insurance Task Force, consisting of the California Department of Insurance’s Fraud Division, the California Highway Patrol, and L.A. District Attorney Steve Cooley’s Office, began investigating a staged auto collision ring. Evidence from the December 2004 execution of multiple search warrants and arrest warrants related to that investigation led AIFTF investigators to discover the insurance fraud ring in this case.
This ring involved the Zanolettis, Dr. Clarence E. Franklin Jr., DC, and Franklin Chiropractic, his Los Angeles medical facility. In June 2006, the Zanolettis, Franklin and an additional 20 suspects were arrested. Next month, co-defendant Franklin is set to begin his own trial proceedings.
Under the scams in this case, Ramon paid cappers for referrals of “victims.” (A capper is an individual involved in recruiting faux passengers used to submit fraudulent claims to the insurance companies; cappers are paid either a flat fee or a percentage of the total receipts from the false claims.) Ramon then referred the claimants/patients to Franklin Chiropractic, where Magdalena, his wife, instructed patients to sign-in for multiple medical treatments. These treatments were never received, but subsequently used to create false medical reports and billings.
Some of the collisions that Ramon Zanoletti purchased from cappers were staged collisions on L.A. County and Orange County freeways and surface streets. Stagers targeted innocent motorists, frequently light duty commercial vehicles, high-dollar vehicles, SUVs, and elderly drivers – drivers most likely to be covered by insurance.
The AIFTF was assisted by the special investigations units of Mercury Insurance, State Farm Insurance, Bristol West/Coast National, USAA Insurance, Western United, Viking Insurance, Automobile Club of Southern California, Hartford Insurance, Geico Insurance, Wawanesa Insurance, Progressive Insurance, and Infinity Insurance, as well as the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
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