A doctor who practices in East Rockaway was among 13 people who were charged by federal prosecutors in two indictments that allege they schemed to defraud auto insurers out of $100 million by bribing 911 operators and others for access to motor vehicle accident records so that they could steer patients toward corrupt doctors.
Damian Williams, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced criminal charges on Jan. 12 against Dr. William Weiner, a doctor of osteopathic medicine licensed by New York who practices in East Rockaway, and 12 others, including a New York City police officer, an attorney and three other physicians. In a statement, Williams called it one of the largest no-fault insurance fraud takedowns in history, and he noted that the investigation by his office started in January.
“In carrying out their massive scheme, among other methods, they allegedly bribed 911 operators, hospital employees, and others for confidential motor vehicle accident victim information,” Williams said in his statement. “With this information, they then endangered victims by subjecting them to unnecessary and often painful medical procedures, in order to fraudulently overbill insurance companies.”
The indictment alleges that Weiner falsified findings of injuries in magnetic-resonance imaging scans to boost patient referrals. He is charged with healthcare fraud conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy, which carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.
Prosecutors said the fraud ring was headed by Bradley Pierre, and allegedly took $70 million from no-fault insurers in a scam dating back to 2008. Pierre allegedly spearheaded the scheme out of the law office of an unidentified family member, who paid $4 million for accident-victim referrals. According to the indictment, Pierre controlled five “no-fault facilities” that were owned by licensed physicians.
Pierre installed closed-circuit television cameras in his office, which he used to communicate with Weiner and Dr. Marvin Moy, who is licensed by New Jersey, practices in New York City and allegedly conducted “unnecessary and painful” electrodiagnostic testing on patients.
The indictments also list Arthur Bogoraz, a paralegal and manager at a New York City injury law firm, Andrew Prime, who is described as a “runner” who allegedly paid bribes to 911 operators for patient and client referrals, Alexander Gulkarov, who it alleges fraudulently owns and controls more than a dozen medical professional organizations, and attorney Robert Wisnicki, the founding partner of two New York-based law firms who is accused of laundering part of the proceeds.
Additionally, Roman Israilov, Peter Khamiov and Anthony DiPietro are accused of working with Gulkarov to operate the scheme by bribing 911 operators, hospital workers and others for motor vehicle accident victim information. From there, “runners” contacted the victims and allegedly lied to persuade them to seek treatment at clinics that Gukarov and his partners controlled, according to the indictment.
New York City police officer Albert Aronov is accused of logging into NYPD computers during off hours to search for confidential accident reports. He took photos of the records and used a pre-paid “burner” phone to transmit them using an encrypted messaging application, the indictment said.
Dr. Rolando Chumaceiro and Dr. Marcelo Quiroga are named as co-conspirators in the indictment for allegedly prescribing unnecessary, expensive medical treatments and overbilling insurance carriers.
“Schemes exploiting no-fault insurance laws — which ironically exist to make insurance more affordable — also result in higher costs, and unfairly burden all consumers in the auto insurance market,” Williams said.