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South Florida Auto Insurance Scheme Busted


As a Florida driver, you know that Personal Injury Protection is required to drive. If you are involved in an accident, a “no-fault” policy kicks in and your personal injury protection pays for your injuries, regardless of who is at fault. Unfortunately, the state of Florida has seen fraud associated with their PIP policies. Recently, federal agents brought down a fraudulent $23 million auto insurance scheme.

The Fraudulent Scheme

Federal agents unraveled a scheme that they claim defrauded more than ten insurance companies of $23 million from 2010 – 2017. Felix Filenger, 41, and Andrew Rubinstein, 48 were the ringleaders of an elaborate scheme that involved clinic owners, chiropractors, and lawyers in Broward, Palm Beach, and Miami-Dade counties.

Filenger and Rubinstein paid cash to auto body workers and tow truck drivers, who in turn directed accident victims to specific chiropractic clinics. These “runners” were in charge of soliciting accident victims to receive unnecessary treatments at these chiropractic clinics. If that weren’t bad enough, the chiropractic clinics were owned by Filenger and Rubinstein, but registered in the names of other doctors.

Doctors at the clinics would then drive up the patient’s medical bills, with the goal of getting each patient to make 30 visits to the clinic. Every patient reported a high level of pain that required emergency medical treatment, even if the procedure was routine. This allowed Filenger and Rubinstein to take advantage of the Florida provision that required auto insurance providers to pay $10,000 for emergency treatment. Doctors continually found loopholes to drive patient costs up, defunding auto insurance companies for Filenger’s and Rubinstein’s financial gains.

Defense Attorneys Will Fight The Case

Filenger and Rubinstein face charges of racketeering, mail fraud conspiracies, health care fraud, wire fraud, and making false statements. They each face over 20 years in federal prison. The investigation took many years to complete before federal agents were confident enough to make arrests.

There was a theory floated around that Filenger and Rubinstein were members of the Russian mob, and that federal agents began investigations thinking they had an organized crime case. By the time they were ready to make arrests, it was evident that the fraudulent auto insurance scheme had nothing to do with organized crime. Federal agents have never publicly stated that this was their initial thinking, but that didn’t stop Filenger’s attorney from making that accusation during initial court hearings last week.

Filenger’s attorney later told the media, “The government spent years and millions of taxpayer dollars wiring up witnesses and tapping phones thinking these clinics were a front for the Russian organized crime network. As it turned out, they were dead wrong, but after spending all that time and taxpayer money, it’s perfectly understandable that they felt compelled to save face and bring some charges.”

There’s no doubt that this case will be an interesting case to follow over the coming months. A guilty verdict will not only bring justice, but could potentially deter other Floridians from engaging in fraudulent no-fault insurance schemes.

Stephen M. Fernandez developed a strong belief in justice and fairness in public policy while earning his Political Science degree prior to attending law school. Since joining the Florida Bar Association in 2004, Stephen Fernandez has combined his background in public policy, business administration and civil law to serve as a highly effective trial lawyer fighting for Florida's injured, working hard every day to make sure his clients get what they are owed.

South Florida Auto Insurance Scheme Busted

Goldman Babboni Fernandez
Murphy & Walsh




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