Attorney General Cuomo Announces Brooklyn Doctor Convicted For No-fault Insurance Fraud Scheme
NEW YORK, N.Y. (February 20, 2008) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the conviction of a Brooklyn doctor and his medical clinic for crimes related to defrauding insurance companies under New York’s No-Fault Insurance Law, which provides payment to people injured in motor vehicle accidents.
A jury found Alexander Rozenberg and AR Medical Art, P.C. guilty after a six-week trial before Kings County Supreme Court Judge Joseph McKay. AR Medical Art, P.C. was found guilty of Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, 4 counts of Insurance Fraud in the Fifth Degree, and 5 counts of Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree. Rozenberg was guilty of one count of Insurance Fraud in the Fifth Degree and one count of Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree. Rozenberg faces a maximum of 4 years in prison when sentenced on April 24.
Evidence shows that Rozenberg and his clinic, located in the Midwood section of Brooklyn, purported to treat people injured in real and staged car accidents and engaged in an elaborate scheme to defraud no-fault insurance carriers.
Patients were referred to AR Medical Art, P.C. through a network of paid "steerers" who solicited patients by staging motor vehicle accidents and by offering the clinic’s "services" to real car accident victims. Rozenberg would conduct cursory medical evaluations, fabricate patients’ symptoms, and falsely diagnose extensive soft tissue injuries. Patients received a standard protocol of testing including MRI’s and neurodiagnostic treatments as well as multiple sets of costly medical supplies. In addition, they would often be referred for prolonged, unnecessary treatment including months of physical therapy, chiropractic care, acupuncture, and x-rays.
“This was an elaborate and well thought-out scheme to rip-off insurance companies, which in turn drives up premiums for all New Yorkers,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “Staging an auto accident is like playing with fire, and we are extremely lucky that no innocent bystanders were hurt. My Auto Insurance Fraud Unit will continue to work with other state agencies to crack down on lawyers, health professionals, and others who try to cheat the system and line their pockets through lucrative and complex no-fault schemes.”
These convictions stem from a joint investigation conducted by Attorney General Cuomo’s Auto Insurance Fraud Unit, the State of New York Insurance Department Insurance Frauds Bureau, and the New York City Police Department’s Fraudulent Accident Investigation Squad, and included the use of court-authorized wiretaps. The 20-month investigation resulted in three different indictments charging 25 defendants with various fraud counts, of which 20 of the defendants were charged with staging accidents and then attending AR Medical Art, P.C. and other medical clinics for treatment. Twenty-four defendants pleaded guilty to criminal charges in relation to their involvement with the scheme, including convictions against the ringleader of a staged accident ring and the clinic's money launderer. As part of their pleas, these defendants were ordered to pay restitution totaling approximately $500,000.
The case was handled by Assistant Attorneys General Tarek Rahman, Audrey Cunningham and Stephanie Swenton under the supervision of Criminal Prosecutions Bureau Chief Gail Heatherly, Deputy Bureau Chief Felice Sontupe, and Auto Insurance Fraud Unit Chief Ellen Burach-Zion. Senior Investigators Gary Ferguson and Joseph Buffalino, and analysts Lori Alden and Paul Strocko, under the direction of Supervisors Luis Martinez and Lawrence McDonald conducted the investigation. Brian Moore, Assistant Attorney General in Charge of Forfeiture, is litigating the forfeiture action.
The Attorney General thanks the National Insurance Crime Bureau, and the following insurance carriers: Allstate Insurance Company, American Home Assurance Company, American Insurance Group, American Select Insurance Company, GEICO, Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, Metlife Auto and Home, the Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Company, One Beacon Insurance Group, Progressive Casualty Insurance Company, the Robert Plan Corporation, State Farm Insurance Company, and York Claims of AIU, for their valuable cooperation.