A personal injury attorney in the Twin Cities is the latest to be convicted of committing health care fraud for his involvement in a widespread scheme to cheat automobile insurance companies.
William Sutor III, 37, of Minnetonka, was involved in a conspiracy in 2015 and 2016 that saw "runners" used to induce car accident victims to go for chiropractic treatment.
These runners were given payments of between $1,000 and $1,500 for each patient they found, and the runners would in turn pay the patients to encourage them to continue sessions even if they were unnecessary.
These kickbacks to the runners were withheld however until patients had attended a sufficient number of sessions to cover the cost of the payments, with chiropractors then billing insurance companies, raking in millions of dollars as a result.
According to Minnesota's U.S. Attorney Erica MacDonald, Sutor also paid each runner an extra fee of around $300 to ensure that the accident victims would become a client of his.
"Sutor, the chiropractors, and the runners took steps to conceal their scheme, including making kickback payments in cash or by checks written out to appear that they were payments for legitimate legal services," the U.S. Attorney's Office said.
MacDonald said: "This defendant, a personal injury attorney, participated in an all too common healthcare fraud scheme involving a network of chiropractors and runners. The No. 1 goal of the scheme was to steal money from insurance providers, resulting in higher premiums for Minnesota consumers."
"The conduct perpetrated by Mr. Sutor makes it harder for the legitimate lawyers and health care providers to help Minnesotans who really are injured," added Minnesota Department of Commerce Commissioner Steve Kelley.
The cases follow on from a series of raids conducted by the FBI on Twin Cities chiropractor practices at the end of 2015.
We reported in 2018 that 26 people across seven separate metro-area chiropractic clinics have been implicated in the scheme, comprising chiropractors, personal injury lawyers and runners.
In fall 2018, two chiropractors – Preston Forthun and Adam Burke – were given prison sentences for orchestrating the fraud scheme.