New York Surgeon Gets 36 Months in Jail for Role in $30M Trip-and-Fall Scam

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A New York-licensed pain management doctor has been sentenced to 36 months in prison for his participation in a scheme to obtain fraudulent insurance reimbursements and other compensation from fraudulent trip-and-fall accidents.

Damian Williams, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced the sentencing of Sady Ribeiro by U.S. District Judge Sidney H. Stein. During the course of the fraud scheme, Ribeiro and others, attempted to defraud their victims of more than $31 million.

In addition to the prison term, Ribeiro, 72, of New York, New York, was sentenced to three years of supervised release.

“Sady Ribeiro abused his professional license and broke his vow to do no harm by performing scores of medically unnecessary, invasive surgeries to increase the value of fraudulent trip-and-fall lawsuits. In carrying out the scheme, Ribeiro and his co-conspirators preyed upon the most vulnerable members of society – many of whom were poor, drug addicts, or homeless – in order to enrich themselves,” Williams said.

According to the indictment, the scheme involved defrauding businesses and insurance companies by staging trip-and-fall accidents and filing fraudulent lawsuits arising from those staged trip-and-fall accidents.

The fraud scheme participants recruited individuals to stage or falsely claim to have suffered trip-and-fall accidents at particular locations throughout New York City in such places as cellar doors, cracks in concrete sidewalks, and purported “potholes. In the course of the fraud scheme, scheme participants recruited more than 400 “patients,” many of whom were poor, homeless, drug addicted or otherwise vulnerable.

After the staged trip-and-fall accidents, patients were referred to specific attorneys who would file personal injury lawsuits against the owners of the accident sites and/or insurance companies.

The patients were also instructed to receive ongoing chiropractic and medical treatment from certain chiropractors and doctors, including Ribeiro. To continue with their lawsuits, the patients were required to undergo surgery, for which they were offered a payment typically between $1,000 and $1,500. Patients generally were told to undergo two surgeries, regardless of their legitimate medical needs. Ribeiro performed medical procedures on more than 200 patients. To maximize his patient base, Ribeiro paid participants cash kickbacks in exchange for patient referrals, according to prosecutors.

New York

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