A St. Paul man was charged last week with criminal insurance fraud after authorities said they uncovered an "elaborate" scheme to exploit Minnesota's no-fault insurance laws.

Maurice Culpepper was charged in Ramsey County after an investigation by the Minnesota Department of Commerce revealed Culpepper had created a fictitious clinic that he used to send medical bills to GEICO insurance, the department said this week. 

Personal Injury Protection, under Minnesota's no fault laws, require insurance companies to pay a minimum of $20,000 for medical expenses and $20,000 for non-medical expenses, such as lost wages. 

According to the complaint, Culpepper was involved in a minor traffic accident in Lakeville in June 2011. A year later, Culpepper contacted GEICO Insurance claiming he had been receiving physical and massage therapy treatments. He submitted billing documents indicating he had received 199 treatments totaling $44,376.

“Minnesota’s no-fault insurance law is in place to ensure all Minnesotans are protected in the event they are injured as a result of an automobile accident,” Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman said in a statement. “When the Department of Commerce obtains evidence that individuals have committed criminal fraud for personal gain, the Commerce Fraud Bureau will vigorously investigate those individuals.” 

Culpepper also submitted at least seven suspicious insurance claims between 2006 and 2012, the complaint said. John Ristad, the assistant Ramsey County Attorney prosecuting the case, would not give more details on those claims.

If you’ve been in a car wreck in Minnesota, Whistleblower wants to hear about your experience with no-fault insurance. Send an e-mail to whistleblower@startribune.com or call 612.673.4028.

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