Epic crash ring braked after $279-million whiplash spree

By James Quiggle
January 17, 2017
Hundreds of crashes staged for fake whiplash insurance claims

imageMichael Danilovich viewed auto insurers as his personal piñatas. The New York man staged hundreds car crashes. He helped mastermind the largest no-fault looting of insurers from setup car wrecks in U.S. history. 

It was a behemoth $279-million binge of false whiplash insurance claims throughout the New York City area. Small wonder that honest New York drivers pay some of the highest auto premiums in the U.S. — crash rings steal hundreds of millions from insurers in New York. The insurance-fraud losses get passed on.

Danilovich packed inexpensive old clunker cars full of “passengers.” He paid them to pretend they had whiplash. Most were Russian emigres or Russian Americans to keep the scam secretive.

Drivers nudged the clunkers into each other — low-speed bumper benders at just a few miles per hour. The fake passengers claimed painful whiplash back and neck injuries requiring expensive insurer-paid treatment.

Whiplash can be devilishly hard for insurers to disprove. Unlike broken bones that show up on X-rays, whiplash is a soft-tissue injury. How do you challenge a doctor’s diagnosis of a patient groaning in a neck brace?

Danilovich bribed a phalanx of crooked doctors, chiropractors, MRI clinics and others to mass-forge fake whiplash “injuries.”

Doctors saw up to 150 “patients” a day, keeping the factory line of insurance claims constantly churning. More than 100 medical clinics joined the insurance-fraud wolf pack.Expensive — and worthless — medical tests and treatments were billed to auto insurers. Doctors saw up to 150 “patients” a day, keeping the factory line of insurance claims constantly churning. More than 100 medical clinics joined the insurance-fraud wolf pack.

Danilovich’s paid street bosses often never even bothered staging car crunches. Many crashes happened on paper only, backed by forged medical tests and diagnoses.

His attorneys threatened to sue insurers unless they paid up.

Danilovich was handed 25 years in federal prison. His epic crash ring finally overheated and spun out.


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