The good ol’ “trip-and-fall” has been a known scammer’s payday for years. Well in 2019, a group of New Yorkers took things to the next level and turned a classic scam into a multi-million dollar scheme!
On Tuesday, three men were convicted in Manhattan federal court of participating in a trip-and-fall scheme that defrauded #NewYorkCity businesses and their insurance companies out of more than $31.7 million.
“Bryan Duncan, Robert Locust, and Ryan Rainford carried out a blatantly corrupt scheme, recruiting ‘patients,’ coaching them on how to stage trip-and-fall ‘accidents’ that were not accidents at all, and steering them to complicit lawyers, chiropractors, and doctors,” said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman.
The men were convicted of recruiting poor people, including those from homeless shelters or those they thought would “be most willing to undergo unneeded surgeries for the minimal cut of the proceeds,” that the defendants would share.
“Duncan, Locust, and Rainford were tripped up by the justice system and have met their downfall,” Berman said.
The charges included participating in a conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. The jury also convicted Duncan of a second count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, along with one count of mail fraud and one count of wire fraud.
Co-conspirators Peter Kalkanis, a former chiropractor, and Kerry Gordon previously pled guilty before Judge Stein to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, mail fraud, and wire fraud. Kalkanis also pled guilty to aggravated identity theft.
According to the allegations contained in the Indictment and Superseding Indictment, and the evidence presented in Court during the trial: Between 2013 through 2018, the defendants engaged in a widespread fraud scheme through which the defendants defrauded businesses and insurance companies by staging trip-and-fall accidents and filing fraudulent lawsuits arising from those staged accidents.
Fraud scheme participants, including the defendants, recruited hundreds of individuals to stage trip-and-fall accidents at particular locations throughout New York City and to claim that they injured themselves as a result of their accidents.
Common accident sites included cellar doors, cracks in concrete sidewalks, and purported “potholes.” The defendants instructed the recruited patients to claim that they received injuries to particular areas of their bodies, including the knees, shoulders, and/or back – body parts that, if injured, would reap high recoveries in personal injury lawsuits.
After the staged trip-and-fall accidents, recruited patients were referred to specific attorneys who would file lawsuits against the owners of the accident sites and/or the insurance companies of the owners of the accident sites (the “Victims”).
The recruited patients were also instructed to receive ongoing medical treatment from certain chiropractors and doctors. The fraud scheme participants advised the recruited patients that if they intended to continue with their lawsuits, they were required to undergo surgery to increase the value of their fake lawsuits.
The defendants are looking at charges that carry a maximum term of 20 years in prison.
TSR STAFF: Christina C! @cdelafresh