Clinic workers charged with fraud

April 17, 1992|By John Rivera | John Rivera,Staff Writer

Three employees of a Baltimore medical clinic, one of them a physician, were arrested yesterday on charges related to false automobile insurance accident claims, the state attorney general's office said.

Dr. Reginald W. Stalling, who ran the Surgicare Medical Center on East Mount Royal Avenue, was charged with presenting false insurance claims and attempted theft. Two employees of the clinic, Michael Jerome Sterrett and Ahmad Nourbakhsh, face the same charges, as well as charges of practicing medicine without a license and misrepresenting themselves as doctors.

Maryland State Police officers also served a search warrant yesterday on the Surgicare Medical Center's offices and seized a number ofrecords, Assistant Attorney General Norman L. Smith said.

The charges stem from a yearlong investigation that is targeting professionals who may be involved in automobile insurance fraud.

"We are targeting doctors and lawyers and others who are the people who are facilitating this kind of fraud," Mr. Smith said.

The investigation uses undercover agents who go to lawyers' offices saying that they have been in an accident, were not injured, but want to make some money.

The investigators presented lawyers with bogus policies on state vehicles provided by insurance companies.

The lawyers would then send the agents to medical clinics for exams to verify injuries that did not exist, officials said.

Baltimore lawyer Nelson R. Kandel, charged with fraud and theft in March, was the first person indicted as a result of the investigation, conducted by the state attorney general's criminal investigations division, along with the Maryland State Police and several insurance companies.

Mr. Kandel's indictment, while a part of the same investigation that produced yesterday's arrests, is not directly connected with them, Mr. Smith said.

Dr. Stalling, Mr. Sterrett and Mr. Nourbakhsh are specifically charged with attempting to defraud the Government Employees Insurance Co., or GEICO, by submitting false medical claims. If Dr. Stalling, Mr. Sterrett and Mr. Nourbakhsh are convicted, each could face more than 25 years in jail and a fine of more than $20,000.

The insurance fraud investigation is continuing, and officials expect more indicments against Maryland doctors and lawyers, Mr. Smith said.

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