Shady clinics bilk $1.3 billion in bogus car insurance claims scam

Published: 2011-07-14 15:11:51
Author: Michele Henry

  Ontario’s car insurance industry is under attack by bogus medical clinics that use fake accident treatment charges to milk the system.

$1,247 for a portable acupuncture machine.

$2,363 for “aqua fitness therapy.”

$450 for pain-relieving massages.

Then there was the $1,293 invoice submitted to an insurer for a long-handled Swiffer and other equipment to help a Toronto man with a minor injury clean his house.

None of these treatments or machines were provided to accident victims.

Doctors, chiropractors and physiotherapists are unwitting dupes in what some insurers claim is a $1.3-billion scam. Fraudsters steal their credentials to make fake invoices appear legitimate. The victims of the scam are drivers across the province, who annually see their rates hiked to pay for fraudulent claims.

Insurance investigators claim more than 300 clinics loosely connected in fraudulent rings are working this system.

“This is the bane of my existence for the last year,” Dr. Tajedin Getahun, a Mississauga physician, said in an interview.

His stolen signature was on treatment plan invoices for a series of costly devices he said he would never prescribe. One was a “whole body vibrating plate,” priced at $1,980, the other a $998 “biofeedback device.”