News and Press Releases

Chiropractic Clinics Charged with Fraudulent Insurance Scheme

March 22, 2012

Fort Myers, Florida - United States Attorney Robert E. O'Neill announces the unsealing of two indictments charging twelve individuals with charges including health care fraud, mail fraud, money laundering, conspiracy to commit health care fraud and mail fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Each of the counts in the two indictments carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison.

Joanna Capote (23, Cape Coral), Dr. Stephen M. Lovell (54, Windermere), Francisco Huici Fernandez (39, Cape Coral), Ernesto Diaz (30, Cape Coral), Karen Carmona Jackson (29, Lake Wales), Jeanine Lastres Huici (41, Cape Coral), Marylda Santana (21, Cape Coral), Sonia Arroyo (52, Cape Coral), and Indra Lemus Castellanos (19, Cape Coral) are charged with conspiracy to commit health care fraud and mail fraud, health care fraud, mail fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering and money laundering. The indictment also notifies Lovell that the United States intends to forfeit an airplane and motor vehicle purchased by him, with proceeds from the fraud, and bank accounts which are alleged to be traceable proceeds of the offense.

In a separate indictment, Abel de Jesus Perez (43, Cape Coral), Victor Caballero Duarte (22, Cape Coral), Francisco Huici Fernandez (39, Cape Coral), Marylda Santana (21, Cape Coral) and Adrian Perez (21, Cape Coral) are charged with conspiracy to commit health care fraud and mail fraud, health care fraud, mail fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

According to the indictments, Xtreme Care Rehabilitation Center Inc. (“Xtreme Care”) and C & A Family Rehab Center Inc. (“C& A”) were operating in Cape Coral, Florida as unlicensed health care clinics since 2009. The State of Florida licensing requirements were circumvented by the conspirators as a result of the purported exclusive ownership of these clinics by licensed health care practitioners, including licensed chiropractor Dr. Stephen M. Lovell. As a result of the purported ownership of the clinics by a licensed health care practitioner, these clinics avoided greater regulatory scrutiny. In actuality, other conspirators including Francisco Huici Fernandez, Ernesto Diaz and Abel de Jesus Perez were the true owners of the clinics.

In furtherance of the health care fraud, the conspirators caused individuals to be recruited who purported to be involved in staged accidents and received injuries. These individuals would then go to Xtreme Care and C & A in exchange for payment. Xtreme Care and C & A then billed insurance companies by submitting false claims, through the mail, for purportedly medically necessary treatments that these patients received. However, as the indictment alleges, treatment was either never provided to these patients or was not medically necessary. Upon payment by the insurance company, the proceeds of the fraudulent activity were then transferred to corporations created by the conspirators to launder the proceeds of the criminal activity. Ultimately, the conspirators received the benefits of the fraudulent activity through payments or expenditures for themselves from the corporate bank accounts.

An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of the federal criminal laws, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.

This case was investigated by the Cape Coral Police Department, the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, the United States Secret Service, Hialeah Police Department, City of Miami Police, Florida Department of Financial Services, along with the assistance of the National Insurance Crime Bureau. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jesus M. Casas.









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