Dozens arrested in auto insurance fraud
SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, Fla. (WSVN) -- Authorities have arrested dozens of people involved in car insurance scams.
On Wednesday, Florida's Division of Insurance Fraud authorities arrested five people at 7171 Coral Way. The U.S. Secret Service helped the State net 25 people at locations Florida's chief financial officer called fraud mills. "Miami-Dade County now ranks number three in the country in staged auto accidents," said Florida's CFO Jeff Atwater.
According to state insurance fraud agents, two people would agree to be paid to stage accidents. They would then meet at a parking lot and get into a fender bender. Then, they would go into a clinic to be treated for injuries they did not have as a result of accidents that did not happen.
Elsa Terrero was one of the 25 people arrested. Terrero operates New Horizon Practice, which the State said is an accident clinic where therapists fill out paperwork for insurance claims for phony car wrecks.
"Because of this fraud, which is extraordinarily prevalent, for every car in a driveway, it's $50 of additional cost each year. These people behind us have been walking away with hundreds of thousands of dollars in fraudulent claims lining their pockets, while the rest of the people in Miami-Dade have higher auto insurance costs," Atwater said.
During a press conference, Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle said, "You know, a lot of the drug dealers of the 80s and 90s find this as a much safer way to make money."
Atwater wanted to reassure the scam artists that, "We're going to arrest you, and we're going to prosecute you and put you in jail."
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