GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Two Florida men are headed to prison for their role in an elaborate scheme to rip off insurance companies with no-fault policies by staging car crashes in West Michigan.
Belkis Soca-Fernandez was sentenced Thursday to 11 years, three months in prison, according to federal officials. David Sosa-Baladron was sentenced to 10 years in prison. They will also have to pay $675,066.96 in restitution to the companies they defrauded.
In March, the 47-year-old Soca-Fernandez and 42-year-old Sosa-Baladron — both of Tampa — were convicted in federal court of health care fraud and conspiracy to commit mail fraud in a scheme U.S. District Judge Paul Maloney described Thursday as “brazen.”
“The very significant sentences imposed by the court reflect the leadership roles played by Soca-Fernandez and Sosa-Baladron and the fact that they greatly profited from this fraud scheme at the expense of Michigan’s automobile insurance system,” Acting U.S. Attorney Andrew Byerly Birge said in a statement.
The Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Grand Rapids were in charge of the investigation.
Federal authorities say that between 2012 and 2015, the people involved the scam paid others to stage car crashes and open automotive insurance claims. The organizers of the fraud would then tell the fake crash victims what symptoms to fake so a doctor tied to the scheme to sign a prescription for physical therapy.
The fake crash victims and scammers would sign blank therapy treatment forms to make it appear they were being treated at one of three clinics the scammers owned: two in Wyoming and one in Lansing. The clinics would then file the false treatment forms to get money from insurance companies.
Six other people were already sentenced for their roles in the scheme, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office:
- Antonio Ramon Martinez-Lopez, 35, of Tampa, Florida, a manager of Revive Therapy: 87 months in prison.
- Gustavo Acuna-Rosa, 30, of Versailles, Kentucky, a manager of Renue Therapy: 32 months in prison.
- Yoisler Herrera-Enriquez, 31, of Wyoming, Michigan, a manager and massage therapist at H&H Rehab: 57 months in prison.
- Eduardo Pardo-Oiz, 35, Nashville, Tennessee, a recruiter and accident participant: two months in prison.
- Dolis Rojas-Lopez, 31, Wyoming, a recruiter and accident participant: three years of probation.
- Yosvany Gonzalez-Duran, 42, of Lansing, a recruiter and accident participant: one year in probation.