Last of 12 involved in staged-crash insurance scheme sentenced to prison

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A Grand Rapids man is heading to prison for his role in a fraud ring targeting auto insurance companies.

During Wednesday’s sentencing, a federal judge said schemes like the one 45-year-old Marvin David Ramirez was involved in “contribute significantly” to Michigan’s auto insurance rates, which are among the highest in the country.

In June, Ramirez pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud for his role in the vehicle crash scheme involving Primary Rehab Center in Wyoming. The judge Wednesday sentenced him to 37 months in prison.

Authorities say from December 2011 to May 2014, the fraud ring paid people to stage vehicle crashes and file police reports so insurance companies could be billed for physical therapy they didn't need. Investigators say the recruits would fake symptoms to get a referral for physical therapy, where they would sign bogus forms for treatment they never received.

Authorities say the clinic was awarded more than $600,000 of the more than $1 million it billed auto insurance companies through the scheme.

As part of his punishment, Ramirez was also ordered to repay $298,992.29 to the automobile insurance companies he defrauded.

Two co-owners of the Wyoming clinic and a Florida man who helped recruit people to stage the crashes were previously sentenced for their roles in the ring.

The U.S. Department of Justice says seven other people were sentenced for similar schemes at Revive Therapy, Renue Therapy and H&H Rehab in Michigan.

GRAND RAPIDS, MI — The last person in a multi-year prosecution of people involved in a scheme to stage auto crashes and injuries, then collect insurance money, has been sentenced to prison.

Marvin David Ramriez, 45, of Grand Rapids, was sentenced to 37 months in prison in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids.

Federal prosecutors said those participating in the scheme recruited and paid people to stage crashes that allowed them to get police reports, then make insurance claims.

Those recruited also were asked to fake injuries, with the goal of obtaining a prescription for physical therapy. Workers at therapy clinics would then send false insurance claims to auto insurance companies.

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