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Chiropractor admits guilt in spiraling FBI insurance fraud probe

A local chiropractor became the latest health professional to plead guilty in an automobile accident fraud that federal investigators now believe may have cost insurance companies and the state “millions of dollars.”

Jennifer A. Netter, a 38-year-old chiropractor who practices in Bridgeport and lives in Danbury, pleaded guilty Wednesday to conspiring to make false statements by exaggerating injuries and ordering unnecessary treatments for auto accident victims.

The chiropractor, a 2000 graduate of the University of Bridgeport’s College of Chiropractic, was released on a non-surety bond. Netter, who is pregnant, allowed her chiropractor’s license to become inactive on Sept. 30, 2010.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Schmeisser told U.S. District Judge Stefan R. Underhill during the proceedings that information being provided by people cooperating with the investigation put the losses from the scam into “the millions.”

At least 500 claims were made.

Netter, who lives in Danbury, is the third medical professional to plead guilty in the scandal. Francisco R. Carbone, a 54-year-old former Bridgeport doctor and psychiatrist pleaded guilty Tuesday to four federal charges relating to the scam. Dr. James W. Marshall, who operates Immediate Medical Care on Main Street in Monroe pleaded guilty to illegally writing prescriptions at Carbone’s request for narcotic painkillers to patients he never saw.

The probe is continuing, and an unnamed Bridgeport lawyer and chiropractor are being investigated.

Schmeisser accused Netter of falsifying patients’ conditions in which range of motion limitations were exaggerated and unnecessarily prescribing six months of treatments.

Netter’s actions cost insurers and the state at least $110,000.

Court documents claim the scam involved a Bridgeport attorney, whose personal injury clients were receiving some form of state aid. As part of the conspiracy, the attorney sent clients to the chiropractor’s offices for treatment. Carbone, whose license to practice medicine was pulled by the state in 2005, would recommend narcotic pain killers, which Marshall prescribed, and required the patients to undergo nerve conduction velocity testing at a diagnostic testing center owned by an unnamed chiropractor. Each of these tests cost $2,000. After the lengthy treatments were completed, Carbone would author the final medical reports claiming the patients suffered permanent partial disabilities in the accidents.

The attorney would then use the reports in obtaining settlements from insurers including Travelers, Metropolitan, Geico and Progressive.

Since many of the patients were receiving state aid, Connecticut was allowed to seek as much as 50 percent of the settlement. However, documents claim the lawyer, the chiropractor and Carbone would inflate their costs to reduce the amount of money the state could receive.

Schmeisser cited one case in which the patient disagreed with Netter’s range of motion finding as well as the need for additional treatment.

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Written by lordsinsurancelog

July 21, 2011 at 6:06 pm

Posted in Insurance News