Physical Therapy Assistant Sentenced in Massachusetts Auto No-Fault Insurance Fraud Scheme

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A West Roxbury physical therapy assistant was sentenced to 2 years in federal prison this month for his role in defrauding automobile insurers through bogus no-fault injury claims. Slava Pride, 42, was also ordered to pay over $2.3 million in restitution.

Exploiting No-Fault Coverage

According to prosecutors, Mr. Pride worked with co-conspirators at Brighton Physical Therapy Clinic to carry out an extensive fraud scheme from October 2018 to June 2020 targeting Massachusetts’ no-fault auto insurance system. For a detailed account of the fraud and its discovery See Agency Checklists’ article of March 22, 2020, “First Guilty Plea In No-Fault PIP Auto Insurance Fraud Scheme.”

No-fault coverage pays injury claims regardless of who was at fault in an auto accident. The defendants exploited this by billing for physical therapy services never performed and filing claims for unnecessary treatments.

Specifically, they submitted fraudulent bills to auto insurers for therapy for patients supposedly injured in motor vehicle crashes, even though no care was actually provided.

The Sentencing

Earlier this year, Pride pleaded guilty to mail fraud conspiracy charges for his involvement in the prolonged fraud. His sentencing this month represents the first defendant in the scheme to be held criminally accountable.

Two other co-conspirators, Anna Barenboym, and Raya Bagardi, previously pleaded guilty and await sentencing. A fourth defendant, owner Gyulnara Bayryshova, still faces charges related to the no-fault insurance fraud operation.

The prosecution teams

Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy; Christopher DiMenna, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division; Anthony DiPaolo, Chief of Investigations of the Insurance Fraud Bureau of Massachusetts; Boston Police Commissioner Michael Cox; and Quincy Police Chief Mark Kennedy made the announcement of the July 13, 2023 sentencing. Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura J. Kaplan of the Criminal Division prosecuted the case.

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