Three Broward men have been charged with staging a car accident in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, alleged to have been recruiting and paying people to fake injuries and undergo unnecessary medical treatments.
Rone Petidos, of Coral Springs, Patrick Logene of Fort Lauderdale, and Marc La Pierre of Coconut Creek, all face a single count of insurance fraud, which could potentially carry a penalty of 15 years in prison.
Florida’s Chief Financial Officer, Jeff Atwater, stated that the three men allegedly staged a motor vehicle accident using a hotel van filled with passengers who were apparently involved in the fraudulent activity. Five of those passengers, all from Broward County, also face charges for their roles in the allegedly staged car accident, filing fraudulent insurance claims and undergoing needless treatments. The purported fraudulent activity resulted in claims of over $75,000, cumulatively.
The crash took place in June of 2012 when a rented 2012 Chevrolet Suburban rear-ended a Marriott hotel shuttle. Three people were in the Suburban and six were in the shuttle, along with the driver. Sworn statements by some of the participants helped build the case against the three men. Petidos and La Pierre have a similar case pending in Broward County Circuit Court from a different 2012 crash.
While we have discussed before that insurance fraud, specifically Personal Injury Protection (PIP) fraud has been an issue in Florida, particularly the South Florida region, it has also been reported to be in decline for the last several years. Insurers often try to paint a picture of widespread fraud as a reason to eliminate the no-fault insurance, however it provides a necessary safeguard for those injured in accidents with uninsured motorists, of which there are many in South Florida.