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Business Observer Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016 5 years ago

Naples businessman found guilty in auto insurance fraud

The operator of unlicensed chiropractic clinics paid patients and staged motor vehicle accidents to defraud insurers.

A federal jury has found a Naples businessman guilty in a so-called “PIP” scheme aimed at defrauding auto insurance companies, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Nesly Loute, 52, of Naples, was found guilty of conspiracy to commit mail fraud. He faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison for his crimes when he is sentenced in January. Additionally, Loute has been ordered to pay restitution and forfeit all proceeds from the fraud.

He is the sixth person to be convicted following a two-year investigation into auto insurance fraud. “Operation Fraudulent Pain” disrupted five unlicensed chiropractic clinics that had received more than $2 million in “ill-gotten” Personal Injury Protection payments from auto insurers, the department noted.

Loute and others operated unlicensed chiropractic clinics and paid patients to, in turn, bill insurers to pay the clinics PIP benefits. The defendants also staged motor vehicle accidents and submitted claims pertaining to them to receive PIP benefits from the fake accidents.

More than $1 million in fraud proceeds were withdrawn from banks connected to the fraud.

Five other co-conspirators had pleaded guilty in connection to the scheme prior to Loute's six-day trial.

The case was investigated by the Fort Myers office of the FBI, the IRS, the state's insurance division and U.S. Customs and Immigration.

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