Jurors on Monday convicted a Twin Cities chiropractor and two co-defendants of a multimillion-dollar scheme that defrauded insurance companies through submission of no-fault auto insurance claims.
Chiropractor Preston E. Forthun, 39, of Bloomington, was found guilty in federal court of all 14 felony mail and wire fraud counts filed against him. It is the first of several federal trials against Twin Cities chiropractors accused of using the state’s no-fault insurance laws to bilk policy providers.
Forthun’s alleged patient recruiters, Abdisalan A. Hussein, 48, and Carlos P. Luna, 49, both of Minneapolis, were also found guilty of multiple mail and wire fraud counts.
“Forthun orchestrated a scheme to exploit Minnesota’s no-fault insurance laws by employing a corrupt approach to running his chiropractic practice,” Acting U.S. Attorney Greg Brooker said in a statement announcing the verdicts. “The result was millions of dollars in fraudulent claims ... which, unfortunately, is a burden ultimately shouldered by the automobile insurance holders in Minnesota.”
Richard Thornton, the FBI’s special agent in charge in Minneapolis, said that Forthun’s “betrayal of the medical profession cost the public millions and robbed funds that may have helped cover the expenses of people with legitimate health needs.”
Forthun’s attorney was not immediately available Monday afternoon to react to the guilty verdicts.
“The verdict was disappointing,” said Luna’s attorney, Charles Hawkins. “We are proceeding with all our legally available options.”
Hussein’s lawyer, RJ Zayed, said they are disappointed with the verdict and will appeal. “It was a complex, difficult and hard-fought case,” Zayed said. “We believe the government failed to meet its burden of proof.”
In closing arguments last week, the defense attributed the contested claims by Minneapolis-based Preston Forthun’s Comprehensive Rehab to a billing dispute and said the prosecution did not prove its case.
Sentencing has yet to be scheduled.
Forthun and a partner who helped run two Lake Street clinics were accused of collecting more than $3 million between 2010 and 2015 by billing for unnecessary treatments to patients who were paid to attend as many as 40 appointments each.
Hussein and Luna served as “runners,” the prosecution claimed, to recruit and pay accident victims to receive treatment from Comprehensive Rehab.
Along with this case, which wrapped up after 10 days, Judge Michael Davis is also presiding over related cases against two dozen other chiropractors accused of similarly defrauding insurers. Chiropractors paid anywhere from $1,000 to $1,500 for an adult patient and roughly $750 for a child patient, according to prosecutors.