ST. PAUL, Minn., Sept. 30 -- The Minnesota Department of Commerce issued the following news release:
Today, in Ramsey County District Court, Maurice Culpepper was criminally charged for allegedly engaging in an elaborate fraud scheme he devised in an attempt to exploit an insurance company. The criminal complaint charged him with one count of Insurance Fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years and $100,000 fine.
According to the criminal complaint (http://mn.gov/commerce/images/092713_Culpepper_Maurice.pdf), Culpepper was involved in a minor traffic accident in Lakeville, Minnesota in June 2011. During the summer of 2012, Culpepper contacted representatives from GEICO Insurance Company claiming he had been receiving physical and massage therapy treatments during the previous year as a result of injuries sustained in the June 2011 accident. The criminal complaint states that, in 2012, Culpepper told GEICO that the medical provider, U4A-FIT, was demanding payment for the 12-months of treatment. Utilizing Minnesota's Personal Injury Protection (PIP) law, Culpepper claimed that GEICO was required to pay his medical bills. Culpepper submitted billing documentation indicating that he had received 199 treatments over the 12-month period totaling $44,376.00.
"Minnesota's no-fault insurance law is in place to ensure all Minnesotans are protected in the event they are injured as a result of an automobile accident," said Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman. "When the Department of Commerce obtains evidence that individuals have committed criminal fraud for personal gain, the Commerce Fraud Bureau will vigorously investigate those individuals."
An investigation conducted by an agent from the Commerce Fraud Bureau uncovered evidence that, although Culpepper claimed to have received treatment by U4A-FIT, in reality, U4A-FIT was a fictitious company that he created in his efforts to defraud the insurer. Information and documents obtained by the Commerce Fraud Bureau through the execution of multiple search warrants revealed that the U4A-FIT website and telephone number were directly linked to Culpepper, even though he had claimed to have no association with the company.
The criminal complaint further alleges that as part of the scheme to defraud GEICO, Culpepper using an alias of Ken Robinson, entered into a contractual agreement with a St. Paul-based collection agency. The collection agreement identified Culpepper as the debtor; however, it was completed in such a way to indicate GEICO was the entity responsible for the debt. This act of fraud was allegedly done in an effort to legitimize Culpepper's claim against GEICO.
"Too often insurance fraud goes unchecked in our community, which in turn increases rates for everyone," said Ramsey County Attorney John Choi. "Because of the strong partnership between the Department of Commerce and this office, we are able to bring forward criminal charges in this case and hold the offender accountable for his actions."
Report Insurance Fraud
Insurance fraud is a crime with serious criminal consequences. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, insurance fraud is the most costly white collar crime in the United States, behind tax evasion.
The Minnesota Department of Commerce receives tips from companies and individuals to report suspected fraud. Minnesotans can report fraud anonymously by calling the Commerce Fraud Bureau at 1-888-FRAUDMN (1-888-372-8366).
More information about insurance fraud in Minnesota can be found on the Minnesota Department of Commerce website (http://mn.gov/commerce/insurance/topics/fraud/).
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