NEW YORK — Authorities said they’ve taken down a criminal racket in which corrupt lawyers and doctors used hundreds of desperate people to feign trip-and-fall accidents in the New York City area to collect damages.
Drug addicts and homeless individuals were often recruited for the faux incidents, officials said.
They said people recruited for the scheme were so desperate that they willingly underwent unnecessary surgeries to support lawsuits.
The scam operated for over five years and scammed millions of dollars from New York City businesses and their insurance companies, according U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss.
They announced charges Wednesday against four individuals, including two lawyers and two doctors.
Attorneys George Constantine and Marc Elefant, as well as doctors Andrew Dowd and Sady Ribeiro, were charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, mail fraud, and wire fraud.
The case was brought in Manhattan federal court.
“In carrying out the scheme, the defendants allegedly preyed upon the most vulnerable members of society,” Strauss said.
In the course of the scheme, the alleged participants recruited more than 400 “patients,” officials said.