Pasadena Chiropractor, 14 Others Charged in $6 Million Auto Insurance Fraud, Kickback Scheme

Published : Saturday, May 4, 2019 | 5:05 AM

A Pasadena-based chiropractor has been charged along with 14 others in an alleged $6 million insurance fraud and illegal kickback scheme involving automobile collision medical claims, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced Friday.

Gustavo Adolfo Nino, 55, the lead chiropractor at Nicali Sports Medicine and Associates at 709 E. Colorado Blvd #140 in Pasadena, was listed as a defendant in a felony complaint that consists of a total of 18 felony counts, including charges of insurance fraud and participating in patient referral rebates, the District Attorney’s office said.

The case was filed on April 26, according to the statement.

Most of the defendants, including Nino, were arrested in a sweep Thursday and are expected to be arraigned on Monday, May 6, in Department 30 of the Foltz Criminal Justice Center in Downtown LA.

Nino is currently in custody in lieu of $200,000 bail. He could face up to 10 years and six months in prison if convicted as charged.

The alleged ringleader of the operation, Yury Chernega, 47, of Studio City, faces four counts each of the aforementioned charges as well as four counts of failure to file income tax returns and one count of money laundering. The charges include allegations of taking more than $500,000 from about 30 insurance companies through fraud and embezzlement, the DA’s office said.

Chernega faces a possible maximum sentence of 18 years and nine months in state prison. Prosecutors are requesting that his bail be set at $325,000.

The DA’s office said between 2015 and 2018, Chernega offered to refer new patients to other chiropractors in return for an illegal referral fee, through which he collected about $6 million. The patients allegedly had been involved in automobile collisions.

The defendants also are accused of filing false claims for medical services they never provided. Additionally, Chernega allegedly didn’t report the income from the illegal kickbacks on his taxes, prosecutors said.

Deputy District Attorneys Heba Matta and LaChandra Wilkerson of the Auto Insurance Fraud Division are prosecuting the case.

The case remains under investigation by the District Attorney’s Office, Bureau of Investigation, with assistance from the California Department of Insurance, the California Franchise Tax Board, the California Board of Chiropractic Examiners and the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

blog comments powered by Disqus