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Manager of North Jersey Chiropractic Center
Indicted on Eight Counts of Insurance Fraud

A state grand jury has indicted the manager of a chiropractic center in Passaic, New Jersey, for allegedly submitting fraudulent claims for chiropractic treatments that were not actually rendered to patients who had been in automobile accidents. On February 18, 1999, New Jersey Attorney General Peter Verniero and state Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Edward Neafsey announced that Esther DelPino, 51, of 267 Main Ave., Hackensack, has been with second degree conspiracy, second degree theft by deception, three counts of fourth degree falsifying records, and three counts of fourth degree falsifying medical records.

"Insurance fraud costs New Jersey residents an untold amount of money each year," Verniero said. "Combating insurance fraud is a high priority of this office. Anyone who defrauds the insurance industry, thereby cheating the citizens of this state, will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law."

According to Neafsey, DelPino was the manager of Lexington Chiropractic Center in Passaic. The indictment alleges that three State Investigators went to Lexington Chiropractic, posing undercover as automobile accident victims. Neafsey said that the investigators received some treatment, but that when the bills were submitted to the insurance carriers, they included claims for additional treatments the investigators had not received. Those bills included claims for treatments purportedly given on approximately 80 days when the investigators were not even at Lexington Chiropractic, Neafsey explained.

In addition to the instances involving the undercover investigators, the indictment alleges that between Jan. 1, 1993 and July 31, 1996, DelPino directed employees of Lexington Chiropractic to prepare other false and inflated bills that included claims for chiropractic treatments that were not actually rendered. Those bills were submitted to two dozen insurance companies. Of the $342,000 in false insurance claims allegedly submitted by DelPino, Lexington Chiropractic collected $245,000 from the insurance companies. The claims were paid under the personal injury protection (PIP) portion of automobile insurance policies.

The indictment also alleges that DelPino paid cash referral fees to people who referred patients to the center. In one case, Neafsey said, DelPino paid $500 to an undercover investigator for referring a "patient" who was another undercover state investigator.

The insurance carriers allegedly defrauded include:

AIG Claim Services, Inc; Allstate Insurance Company; AMGRO; C.N.A. Insurance Companies; Colonial Penn Insurance Company; Continental Insurance Companies; First Trenton Indemnity Company; General Accident Insurance Company; Hanover Insurance Company; Hertz Claim Management Corp.; Liberty Mutual Insurance Company; Market Transition Facility; Material Damage Adjustment; Motor Club of America Insurance Company; National Consumer Insurance Company; Ohio Casualty Group; Preferred Dealer Insurance; Progressive Compensation; Prudential Property and Casualty Insurance Company; St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Company; State farm Insurance Companies; USAA Casualty Insurance Company; United States Fidelity and Guaranty Company, and Warner Insurance Services, Inc.

The case is being prosecuted by the Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor, Division of Criminal Justice, Department of Law and Public Safety. Deputy Attorney General Steven B. Farman presented the case to the grand jury and will represent the state at trial. No trial date has been set. If convicted on all counts, DelPino faces a maximum penalty of $245,000 and 39 years in prison.

Further information is available from Rita Malley (609) 292-4791

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This article was posted on August 23, 1999.