Geico sues Orlando pain clinics for hiring people to fake accidents

Insurer claims clinics staged accidents, billed millions

ORLANDO, Fla. - Geico insurance company has filed a lawsuit against two Orlando pain clinics and 14 co-defendants accusing them of staging accidents for profit.

The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida, alleges several violations of state and federal laws, including fraud, racketeering, unfair and deceptive trade practices, and conspiracy.

According to the complaint, Geico was billed more than $2 million as a result of false claims from the staged accidents.

Geico alleges that workers at Wellness Pain & Rehab and KJ Chiropractic Center conspired to create accidents with willing participants. Those participants, some of whom were never in the vehicles involved, were then, according to the allegations, sent to the pain clinics for treatment that was billed to Geico but never provided.

Both clinics are now closed. Well Pain & Rehab, located at 3231 Old Winter Garden Rd., was owned by Arthur Vito, whose currently lives in New York City. KJ Chiropractic Center, at 5233 Old Winter Garden Rd., was owned by Dr. Sadat Smith, who lives in Ocoee. He currently operates another clinic in South Orlando.

Neither Smith nor Vito were available for comment.

According to the lawsuit, neither owner supervised the activities at the clinics nor did they ensure the clinics complied with state and federal laws. The complaint claims both clinics were established specifically to orchestrate staged accidents.

The staged accidents were apparently arranged and conducted by a small network of employees working at the clinic as well as a handful of volunteers solicited by those employees. All are named as co-defendants.

Geico says doctors and other clinic workers routinely signed blank treatment forms whether or not patients needed treatment. According to the lawsuit, those forms were later falsified and submitted as claims.

Dr. Robert Cohen, a co-defendant reached by Local 6, claimed he had no knowledge of the lawsuit and denied any wrongdoing.  "I just worked there," he said.

At least four co-defendants in the case have already admitted their involvement. In sworn confessions last week, they said they were paid between $500 and $1000 to participate in the scam.

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