A slip and fall scheme designed to defraud New York City businesses has been unveiled. The scheme attempted to defraud insurers and businesses out of more than $31.7 million. The scheme was conducted by Kerry Gordon, Ryan Rainford, Bryan Duncan and Peter Kalkanis of Queens, New York and Tobert Locust of Brooklyn, New York.
The five defendants staged slip and fall accidents in an attempt to gain compensation and insurance reimbursement.
Kalkanis was reported to be the leader of the group and is a former chiropractor.
“As alleged, these defendants employed one of the oldest plays in the fraudster handbook – the fake slip-and-fall routine – to develop a network of ‘fall victims’ to obtain an astonishing $31 million in fraudulent insurance and compensation payouts,” explains U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman.
The indictment claims that the five have been running the scheme since 2013. Individuals were recruited by the scheme’s participants to stage slip and fall accidents across the city. The individuals that were in on the scheme were also instructed to claim that they were injured and to seek out medical treatment.
Participants in the scheme were directed to specific attorneys who would file lawsuits against the business owners and their insurance companies. The individuals were instructed to continue seeking medical care and to visit the chiropractor’s office as part of the scheme.
Recruited persons into the scheme were instructed to undergo surgery if they wanted to pursue their lawsuits. Those that underwent surgery were given a portion of the settlement as well as a payment for completing the surgical procedure.
Kalkanis reportedly handled all of the scheme’s logistics, while the other parties were responsible for recruiting patients, transporting recruits to doctor appointments and identifying potential accident sites. The scheme was so advanced that recruits were taught how to fake their injuries to make them look real.
Duncan, Locust and Rainford were all convicted in May 2019. Duncan was found guilty of one count of mail fraud and wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. Each count carries a maximum of 20 years in prison.
Locust and Rainford are facing a maximum sentence of 20 years in jail for one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.
Gordon pled guilty on two counts of mail fraud, two counts of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and two counts of wire fraud, each of which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment.
Kalkanis pled guilty to aggravated identity theft, which carries a 2-year mandatory imprisonment as well as one count of mail fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and one count of wire fraud, which carry a maximum sentence of 20 years each.