A fraudulent scheme in which lawyers and doctors generated $20 Million in lawsuit settlements by exploiting hundreds of homeless individuals to fake trip and fall accidents has been unveiled and shut down with charges against defendants.
In Manhattan, the authorities pressed charges against two doctors and two lawyers who allegedly involved people in the scam by making them undergo unnecessary surgeries to strengthen the lawsuit and providing them with compensation for faking accidents.
Audrey Strauss, US Attorney, revealed that the defendants “preyed upon the most vulnerable members of society” to conduct the scheme that continued from January 2013 to April 2018.
In a press release, she said, “The defendants abused their professional licenses and positions of trust to steal millions of dollars from New York City businesses and their insurance companies through a massive trip-and-fall fraud scheme,”
Michael J. Driscoll, Newyork FBI official, said the scheme is “beyond reprehensible.” He added, the case illustrates “the extent to which some are willing to go in the name of money.”
On Monday, the lawyer named Marc Elefant, 49, and the doctors, Sady Ribeiro, 51, and Andrew Dowd,45, allegedly involved in the scheme, got arrested and expecting a court appearance.
As per the authorities, another lawyer named George Constantine, 58, is expected to surrender this Thursday.
The lawyer of Dowd, Aaron Mysliwiec, refused to comment on that.
The attorney for Michael Bachner stated his client “Refuses the allegations contained in the indictment and looks forward to his day in court” and further said, “We are confident that the evidence proves that Mr. Elefant acted in good faith and reliance on the information provided to him.”
Marc Gann, the lawyer representing Constantine, stated the accused “certainly denies the allegations adamantly and looks forward to fighting these charges in court.” He called his client a “longstanding member of the bar with what I believe is a stellar record as an attorney.”
Riberio’s attorney did not respond to any comments on his client’s behalf.
According to the indictment, the lawsuit settlements crossed $20 million while the defendant Constantine receives $5 million or more in legal fees.
The indictment says, every surgery the orthopedic surgeon performed for knees and shoulders on schemed patients got him $9,500. Moreover, Ribero, a pain management specialist, performed back operations and other procedures and treated nearly 200 patients.
It also says the defendants recruited over 400 individuals to either claim fake accidents or intendedly fall at different locations in the Newyork city where they could affirm there were broken or cracked concretes sidewalks.
They exploited drug users and homeless individuals to become part of their fraudulent scheme.