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Federal jury convicts Minneapolis chiropractor on fraud charges

10/16/2017 2:58:58 PM

More than 20 additional defendants have been charged in connection with parallel no-fault insurance fraud schemes

SAINT PAUL – Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman announced that a chiropractor and two co-defendants have been convicted by a federal jury for their roles in an insurance fraud conspiracy.

Chiropractor Preston Ellard Forthun, 39, of Bloomington, was convicted on charges of conspiracy, mail fraud and wire fraud. Co-defendants Abdisalan Abdulahab Hussein, 48, and Carlos Patricio Luna, 49, both of Minneapolis, were also convicted for their roles in the scheme.

Following a 10-day trial before U.S. District Judge Michael J. Davis, the jury returned guilty verdicts on all counts against the three defendants.

“This verdict sends a very clear message to insurance scam artists in Minnesota that they will be caught and brought to justice,” said Rothman, whose agency oversees the insurance industry in Minnesota. “By committing insurance fraud, these chiropractors chose to put personal greed above their professional oath, and all of us end up paying for it. The Commerce Fraud Bureau will continue to vigorously investigate allegations of insurance fraud and will do everything in its power to shut down these schemes and hold criminals accountable.”

“Preston Forthun orchestrated a scheme to exploit Minnesota’s no-fault auto insurance laws by employing a corrupt approach to running his chiropractic practice. The result was millions of dollars in fraudulent claims to automobile insurance companies, which, unfortunately, is a burden ultimately shouldered by automobile insurance policyholders in Minnesota,” said Acting United States Attorney Greg Brooker. “I commend the Minnesota Commerce Fraud Bureau and the FBI for their collaborative investigative efforts, skills and resources that contributed to this successful outcome.”

“Not only did Mr. Forthun violate his professional oath, he violated the public’s trust”, added Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Minneapolis Division Richard T. Thornton. “His betrayal of the medical profession cost the public millions and robbed funds that may have helped cover the expenses of people with legitimate health care needs. The FBI and its law enforcement partners will continue to aggressively pursue insurance fraud schemes like this this one to protect the public from unscrupulous criminals and corrupt practices. I would like to thank our partners in the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Commerce Fraud Bureau for their invaluable collaboration in this investigation.”

Forthun was a licensed Doctor of Chiropractic. Beginning in at least 2010, he devised a scheme to defraud auto insurance companies by hiring patient recruiters, known as “runners,” to solicit auto accident victims to attend treatments at his clinic, Comprehensive Rehabilitation Centers of MN (“Comprehensive Rehab”). 

Forthun and his co-defendant Darryl Humenny, who was also a Doctor of Chiropractic with Comprehensive Rehab and who previously pleaded guilty, paid the runners, including Hussein and Luna, between $1,000 and $1,500 for each patient they brought to Comprehensive Rehab so the two chiropractors could bill services to the insurance companies. 

To disguise the payments, Forthun typically paid the runners in cash or wrote checks made out to “cash,” along with a bogus description in the memo line indicating that the payment was for “marketing,” “petty cash,” “transportation,” “interpreting” or “supplies.” 

From 2011 through 2015, Forthun and Humenny wrote more than 400 checks, totaling at least $500,000.

As proven at trial, Forthun structured the scheme in a way that would maximize Comprehensive Rehab’s billings to the insurance companies. Forthun and Humenny withheld kickback payments to the runners until after the patients had attended a certain number of treatment sessions, typically between six and 12. 

Frequently, the runners gave a large portion of the kickback payments they had received to the patients they had referred in order to make sure that patients attended the minimum number of treatment sessions. Thus, the kickback payments were intended to ensure that patients came for treatments at Comprehensive Rehab because of the payments, as opposed to the necessity and reasonableness of the treatments. 

Through the execution of their fraud scheme, Fothun and Humenny billed millions of dollars to the auto insurance companies. 

This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the Minnesota Commerce Fraud Bureau and the FBI. Additional assistance was provided by the Minneapolis Police Department, Saint Paul Police Department, Minnesota State Patrol and Homeland Security Investigations.

Defendant Information:

PRESTON ELLARD FORTHUN, 39
Bloomington, Minn.

Convicted:

  • Conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, 1 count
  • Mail fraud, 6 counts
  • Wire fraud, 7 counts 

ABDISALAN ABDULAHAB HUSSEIN, 48
Minneapolis, Minn.

Convicted:

  • Conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, 1 count
  • Mail fraud, 2 counts
  • Wire fraud, 2 counts 

CARLOS PATRICIO LUNA, 49
Minneapolis, Minn.

Convicted:

  • Conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, 1 count
  • Mail fraud, 1 count
  • Wire fraud, 1 count

Enforcement

Fraud

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