by Brendon Nafziger
, DOTmed News Associate Editor | May 20, 2011
A company that directed clients to an MRI trailer in the Bronx that a lawsuit alleges was running an insurance scam has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection, according to reports.
Eastchester Precision Medical was subject to an involuntary bankruptcy filing by its sister company Precision Office Management Inc., which claims it's owed $2 million, according to Crain's New York. Both companies are based in the same location in the Bronx.
Eastchester Precision Medical made headlines last year when outraged neighbors complained of the noise from a giant tractor trailer allegedly illegally parked outside its office that ran 24 hours a day.
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A local TV news reporter and a Bronx city councilman then mounted a campaign against the building's owner, Fitore Realty LLC, which had been receiving violations from NYC Department of Buildings and Environmental Control Board, according to WPIX News. The MRI trailer, which residents said first appeared in December 2009, vanished last September.
But a lawsuit filed in New York Eastern District Court on January 27 by Geico claims the whole operation was a fraud run by scammers to bilk the insurance company of almost a million dollars.
According to Crain's summary of the case, Geico argues that while the office claimed to provide MRI services, they were actually performed in the neighborhood-annoying trailer parked out back.
And the insurance giant claims it doesn't have to pay $922,000 from more than 1,000 radiology claims because it alleges the scans were not performed by the doctor who supposedly owned the office.
In the suit, Geico accuses Dr. Edovard Hazel, one of the defendants, of letting Eastern Precision or Precision Office use his name in return for some type of compensation, and that the doctor actually works full-time at other practices, including one in Brooklyn. The lawsuit also alleges that the doctor, an internist, likely couldn't have read the studies, as he isn't trained to interpret MRI exams.
The suit alleges Igor and Ruslan Erlikh, the other two named defendants (the suit also lists five John Does), are the real backers of the office, according to Crain's.
The newspaper said the two defendants have been implicated in scams before. Igor had previously been sentenced to nine years in prison for defrauding federal and state government of $140 million in a motor fuel tax scheme, Crain's reported. And Ruslan was arrested almost 11 years ago in an insurance fraud ring that allegedly deliberately caused auto wrecks in order to submit bogus injury claims.
Igor is also apparently related to a law-enforcement milestone. According to the FBI, in February 1999, he became the first person to be extradited to the United States from Ukraine, in connection with the fuel tax scheme.