Former Bryan Chiropractor and Clinic Owner Sentenced in $3 Million Automobile Insurance Scam
|U.S. Attorney’s Office April 14, 2014|
HOUSTON—Chase Lindsey, 36, and Brittany Jessie, 25, have been sentenced to federal prison for engaging in a conspiracy to defraud various automobile insurance companies of more than $3 million, announced United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Lindsay and Jessie previously entered guilty pleas to conspiracy to defraud the insurance companies.
Today, U.S. District Judge Kenneth Hoyt handed Lindsey and Jessie respective terms of 24 and 30 months in federal prison. Judge Hoyt further ordered Lindsey and Jessie to pay restitution to the insurance companies totaling $1.1 million and $1 million, respectively. Both will also serve two-year terms of supervised release following completion of their prison terms.
Jessie and Lindsey admitted they participated in a conspiracy along with Earlie Dickerson, 41, Marion Young, 43, and Edward Graham, 37, to defraud numerous auto insurance companies. The scheme involved the creation of fraudulent chiropractic bills for treatments that were never performed and used as support for fraudulent settlement demand letters sent to auto insurance companies.
Sanjoh & Associates represented clients allegedly injured in auto accidents. Lindsey agreed to provide medical evaluations of and recommend treatment for those patients in exchange for $2,000 in cash per month, which totaled approximately $58,000 during the course of the conspiracy. Jessie sometimes cashed checks and took the cash to Lindsey for payment.
For the clients he actually evaluated, Lindsey routinely recommended medically unnecessary therapeutic treatments. In some instances, Lindsey either never evaluated the patient or did so after the patient had already begun receiving treatments. The treatments, if done, were done by unlicensed, untrained, and unqualified individuals whom Lindsey never supervised. Lindsey always prescribed the same six treatments, but the patients usually received only two: ice/heat packs and electric stimulation. He prescribed the treatments be done three to four times per week for five to six weeks, but patients usually went once a week for three to four weeks. Lindsey also provided no follow-up treatments.
Jessie was instructed on which treatments to mark down in order for the billing to be approved and to alternate treatments on the billing so it did not look suspicious. At one point, Jessie provided a set of treatment guidelines to an employee at Private Chiropractic Care to follow, which were needed for the billing of patients. Jessie instructed that employee to mark down patient treatments, even if the treatments were not done, because it was necessary for billing. Jessie further instructed the employee to have the patients initial next to the fraudulent treatments as if they received them. Jessie also fraudulently marked down treatments and a patient’s pain levels on treatment forms at the Sanjoh & Associates office when the patient had not received the treatment and prepared the false chiropractic billing statements at law firm.
The co-conspirators used four chiropractic clinics in the scheme. Lindsey started working at the first clinic, Texas Avenue Chiropractic Clinic, in February 2007 and continued until it closed on or about September 1, 2007. After that, Lindsey was listed as the only chiropractor at H&E Chiropractic and Private Chiropractic Care, two businesses also involved in the conspiracy. After Private Chiropractic Care shut down in September 2009, Lindsey and others agreed to continue the fraud scheme by sending the law firm clients to Lindsey Chiropractic Care—Lindsey’s chiropractic clinic. Clients were sent there until search warrants were executed in November 2009. Dickerson was the office manager of Sanjoh & Associates Law Firm. Jessie worked both at Sanjoh and Associates, as a tech at the chiropractic clinics, and was the owner of Private Chiropractic Care. All the defendants reside in Bryan, where all the businesses are also located.
Despite changing the name and location of the chiropractic clinic four times, the fraud scheme remained the same. Co-conspirators recruited individuals allegedly involved in auto accidents to be represented by the law firm, who were then sent to Lindsey to be evaluated. Lindsey routinely prescribed medically unnecessary treatment, which was provided, if at all, by unlicensed, untrained, and unqualified individuals. Lindsey knew that most of the treatments were not being performed. Nonetheless, Lindsey allowed false and fraudulent chiropractic bills to be created under his name from each of the four clinics for treatments that were never performed.
The fraudulent bills were used as support for settlement demand letters sent to auto insurance companies, which caused the insurance companies to issue settlement checks. Lindsey and Jessie acknowledged the scheme to defraud the automobile insurance companies resulted in the submission of more than $3 million in false billing claims. The insurance companies paid at least $1.2 million in false claims during 2007 to 2009.
Lindsey and Jessie were permitted to remain on bond and voluntarily surrender to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
Young entered a guilty plea to one count of conspiracy and one count of wire fraud, while Graham and Dickerson were convicted following an eight-day trial of the conspiracy and 30 counts of mail fraud. Those three defendants are scheduled for sentencing on July 28, 2014.
The criminal charges are the result of a joint investigation by agents of the FBI and the National Insurance Crime Bureau. Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) Al Balboni and Special AUSA Adrienne Frazior are prosecuting the case.