2013 Awards: Public Service of the Year
In 2011, the town of Jacksonville, Fla., began to see an increase in PIP clinics involved in staged accidents, many run by experienced personnel originating from Tampa and Miami. During the height of this activity in 2012, there were 10 associated clinics actively billing insurance carriers on hundreds of questionable claims.
Florida Division of Insurance Fraud Detective Dwight Murphy focused his investigations on these clinics and worked with the insurance industry to share information when new clinics opened to facilitate the identification of the claims warranting further investigation.
Murphy initiated multiple clinic investigations, including surveillance to identify the parties running the clinics and alleged claimants. He used the evidence to interview staged-accident participants and solicit confessions, which helped move investigations forward. While insurance carriers had completed individual surveillance assignments, this was the first time law enforcement secured their own surveillance at multiple clinic locations.
Murphy’s investigation was able to determine that, in some instances, the listed owner of a clinic was not the actual owner but was being paid for the use of their license. This led the investigation to Houston, Texas, and the identification of the individuals providing the funds, which led to additional arrests.
To date, these investigations have resulted in charges against 57 individuals with 45 arrests and 12 outstanding warrants. Several parties have pled guilty and have been ordered to pay restitution to the insurance carriers and to contribute to a newly created “strike fund” to combat insurance fraud.
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