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Chiropractors used "runners" to recruit accident victims

Last week, three New Jersey chiropractors were arrested after police became aware of two separate fraud schemes in which the doctors had been involved in a fraud scheme in which they hired individuals to track down victims of car accidents and convince them to receive chiropractic treatment.

Between the three chiropractors, there were reportedly eight individuals who acted as "runners," who together secured over 100 patients for chiropractic treatment. The runners were also responsible for billing claims to insurance companies. The runners apparently relied on the state's open records law to obtain accident reports, which allowed them to find victims.

In one of the schemes, one of the chiropractors paid six runners between $500 and $1,500 for each patient they recruited for services. The chiropractor involved in that scheme has been charged with conspiracy, money laundering, health care claims, fraud and misconduct by a corporate official, as well as criminal use of runners. In the second scheme, two chiropractors recruited 50 patients by means of paid runners. The two have been charged with conspiracy and money laundering, as well as filing false and fraudulent tax return, commercial bribery and use of runners. In both schemes, the runners involved also face charges.

Under New Jersey's "anti-running" statute, it is illegal for a doctor to use a runner to refer an individual for medical care when the doctor plans on filing an insurance claim. According to Attorney General Paula Dow, the activity "corrupts the insurance system because it gives powerful financial incentives to influence a doctor's treatment decisions to maximize insurance billings."

According to sources, insurance fraud is a huge factor in high insurance rates. New Jersey's rates are among the highest in the nation.

Source: Star Ledger, "N.J. authorities charge 11 people in insurance fraud scheme," Christopher Baxter, 27 July 2011.

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