TRENTON – Christopher S. Porrino Attorney General, and the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor (OIFP) announced today that two Elizabeth residents along with multiple co-defendants have been charged in a multi-level insurance fraud network run by Colts Neck brothers Anhuar and Karim Bandy.
Bernardo Neiman, 55, of Elizabeth pleaded guilty to criminal use of runners and was sentenced to one year of probation for his part in the scheme. Charges are pending against Rene Lacotera, 39, of Elizabeth, who is being sought on a fugitive warrant.
Numerous charges were filed in this complex insurance fraud scheme in which the Bandy brothers paid illegal “runners” to find car crash victims as patients for chiropractic facilities they controlled. They then collected kickbacks for referring those victims for medical and legal services provided by others who pleaded guilty in the scheme, including a doctor, a lawyer, three licensed chiropractors, a paralegal and a licensed acupuncturist.
Under the Open Public Records Act rules, the runners were able to get accident reports at local police stations. They then visited the homes of the of the victims and attempted to convince them to use the chiropractic facilities controlled by the brothers.
The scheme also involved numerous fraudulent claims to be submitted to five insurance carriers in connection with patients he referred to MLS Medical, a Park Ridge practice specializing in pain management owned by another participant in the Bandy brother’s criminal scheme.
“We are moving forward with our prosecution of the final defendant in an investigation that put a stop to egregious corruption of New Jersey’s medical, legal, and insurance industries,” Porrino said. “We will continue to enforce the laws that protect patients from being treated like cattle being sold to the highest bidder.”
“Patients must be able to trust that medical decisions are being made in their interest, not in the interest of criminals trying to scam the insurance system,” Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Christopher Iu, said. “As this case demonstrates, anyone who exploits and manipulates patients for financial gain will be held accountable.”
The criminal enterprise was exposed in an April 2014 indictment of the Bandy brothers and 10 others.
Twelve defendants have pleaded guilty and been sentenced. Five more individuals were subsequently charged in connection with the scheme.
Anyone having information about a fraud can report it anonymously by calling the toll-free hotline at 1-877-55-FRAUD, or visiting the web site at www.NJInsurancefraud.org. State regulations permit a reward to be paid to an eligible person who provides information that leads to an arrest, prosecution and conviction for insurance fraud.