A doctor from New York City pled guilty to participating in a plan to defraud insurance companies by conducting unneeded surgery on impoverished and needy patients, some of whom were drug addicts.
Dr. Sady Ribeiro, a 72-year-old pain-management doctor and surgeon, pleaded guilty on Thursday to one count of conspiracy to conduct mail fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection to a complex insurance plan that netted him millions of dollars.
Ribeiro joins the 77-year-old Adrian Alexander in pleading guilty to the fraud.
Alexander, the proprietor of a lawsuit finance firm, was also the mastermind behind the trip-and-fall plan, which persuaded more than 400 homeless and drug-addicted patients to undergo unnecessary surgeries so that the men could collect insurance settlements.
According to a federal indictment, Ribeiro and Alexander were the masterminds behind a massive insurance fraud scam in which participants fabricated slip-and-fall incidents and then filed bogus cases that netted them $31 million.
Ribeiro and Alexander recruited patients to fabricate or falsely claim to have fallen at locations across New York City; the accident sites were typically sidewalk basement entrances, potholes, and sidewalk cracks.
The patients were then sent to certain personal injury lawyers who launched bogus claims against the website’s owners or their insurers. In addition, the patients were urged to obtain continued medical care and chiropractic therapy from Ribeiro and other medical specialists.
Patients-victims were informed that, in order to proceed with their claims, they were obliged to undergo needless surgery, which was conducted by Ribeiro.
With payments between $1,000 and $1,500, the impoverished patients were often encouraged to have needless back procedures. Patients were often advised to undergo two surgical procedures.
Alexander’s lawsuit finance firm compensated for the legal and medical bills, charging patients up to 50 percent on medical loans and 100 percent on personal loans.
Due to the astronomically high interest rates, the great bulk of the revenues from the bogus cases went to the dishonest physicians, attorneys, and businesspeople.
Ribeiro conducted back operations and other medical procedures on over 200 of the bogus patients.
To enhance his personal financial advantage, Ribeiro gave extra cash rewards to participants who referred patients.
The people recruited for the elaborate scheme were sufficiently impoverished to consent to unneeded surgery in return for very modest post-surgery compensation.
According to the Department of Justice, the majority of patients lacked sufficient winter apparel. Their footwear was fragile and coming apart. And many of them would want meals when they arrived for their first consultations with lawyers.
The team sustaining the deception would also recruit patients from citywide homeless shelters.
The offences to which Ribeiro pled guilty carry a maximum term of ten years, or five years for each count. Alexander previously pled guilty to a single count of conspiracy to conduct wire fraud, which carried a possible five-year prison term.
Ribeiro also agreed to forfeit more than $500,000 to the United States government and pay almost $4 million in reparations.
US Attorney Damian Williams for the Southern District of New York, where both men were indicted, said, ‘As alleged, Sady Ribeiro abused his professional licence and position of trust by performing medically unnecessary surgeries to increase the value of fraudulent trip-and-fall lawsuits.
‘In carrying out the scheme, Adrian Alexander, who funded many of the fraudulent lawsuits, Sady Ribeiro, and their co-conspirators preyed upon the most vulnerable members of society in order to enrich themselves. Ribeiro and Alexander now await sentencing for their reprehensible crimes.’
Ribeiro’s sentencing is slated for January 5, 2023, and Alexander’s for November 30, this year.
»New York City doctor,72, faces 10 years in jail for $31M insurance fraud scheme including performing unnecessary surgeries on 400 homeless and drug addicts«