main menu page title feature menus content footer
My Florida C F O

CFO's Initiatives

Stay Connected

Follow the
Department of
Financial Services

Sign up for the CFO's
newsletter!

Press Release

News   RSS RSS   Press Office   Archive

CFO Jimmy Patronis Announces Arrest in $500,000 Kissimmee Accident Clinic Fraud Scheme

10/29/2019

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, October 29, 2019
Contact: Katie Strickland, 850.413.2842, katie.strickland@myfloridacfo.com
Devin Galetta, 850.413.2842, devin.galetta@myfloridacfo.com
 
CFO Jimmy Patronis Announces Arrest in $500,000 Kissimmee Accident Clinic Fraud Scheme

KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis today announced the arrest of Dr. Celestino Santi of Accident Care Center of Boggy Creek for allegedly defrauding nine auto insurance companies out of more than $500,000 in unlicensed medical billing.
 
CFO Jimmy Patronis said, “Insurance fraud is estimated to cost Americans more than $40 billion a year and reports show this translates to an estimated premiums increase to the average U.S. family of between $400 and $700 a year. Scams like this one put people in harm's way and drives up the cost of insurance."
 
An investigation by CFO Patronis’ fraud detectives revealed that Dr. Santi allegedly concealed the ownership of Accident Care Center of Boggy Creek, a motor vehicle accident medical treatment center, to avoid the licensing requirements of the Health Care Clinic Act. Investigations revealed that for approximately five years, Dr. Santi was allegedly acting as a "straw owner" to disguise the identity of the true owner, an unlicensed individual. Unlicensed medical treatments were then billed to various insurance companies under patients’ Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage.
 
Dr. Celestino Santi was booked into Lake County Jail on charges of Scheme to Defraud of more than $50,000, False and Fraudulent Insurance Claims of more than $100,000, Grand Theft of more than $100,000, and operating an Unlicensed Health Care Clinic. If convicted on all charges, he faces up to 30 years in prison. Additional arrests are expected. Individuals charged with a crime are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
 
If you suspect insurance fraud, please go to FraudFreeFlorida.com.
 
###

About CFO Jimmy Patronis 
Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis is a statewide elected official and a member of Florida’s Cabinet who oversees the Department of Financial Services. CFO Patronis works each day to fight insurance fraud, support Florida’s firefighters, and ensure the state’s finances are stable to support economic growth in the state. Follow the activities of the Department on Facebook (FLDFS) and Twitter (@FLDFS).