U.S. Attorney’s Office Update of Brazos County Criminal CasesFeatured Stories, News Thursday, February 14th, 2013
The U.S. Attorney’s office in Houston has announced updates in two criminal cases from Brazos County.
Four people have been sentenced to federal prison and a fifth is being sought from an August 2011 jewelry robbery in College Station. Sentences ranged from five to 13 years apiece. The convicts, from Houston and Atlanta, followed a traveling jewelry salesman from New York in up to four vehicles. In College Station, the salesman, who was held up at gunpoint, lost jewelry valued at 200 thousand dollars.
And a Bryan chiropractor has entered a plea agreement to his part in defrauding auto insurance companies between February 2007 and November 2009. Chase Lindsey faces 30 years in prison and a fine of one million dollars. Prosecutors say the deal also requires Lindsey to pay back one point two million collected from the auto carriers who were billed for medical evaluations and unnecessary treatments. Lindsey, who is scheduled for sentencing April 22nd, is out on bond. Four co-defendants accused of various roles in submitting more than three million in bogus bills, will go on trial April 2nd.
News releases courtesy of the U.S. Attorney’s office in Houston:
HOUSTON – Four people have been sentenced to federal prison for robbing an interstate traveling jeweler of jewelry in College Station, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today.
Ivan Carvajal, 30, and Tito Vargas, 25, both of Houston, previously pleaded guilty and were sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Lynn Hughes to 136 and 57 months, respectively. Luis Flores, 22, of Houston, and Maria Guitierrez, 32, of Atlanta, Ga., had also entered a plea of guilty and were both previously sentenced to 60 months in prison.
One remaining defendant, Brayan Vargas (no relation to Tito Vargas), 19, of Bogota, Colombia, is currently a fugitive in the case and a warrant remains outstanding for his arrest. A photograph is attached. Crime Stoppers will pay up to $5,000 for any information called in to 713-222-TIPS (8477) or submitted online at www.crime-stoppers.org that leads to the location and arrest of Brayan Vargas. Tips can also be sent by text message. Text TIP610 plus your tip to CRIMES (274637). All tipsters remain anonymous.
On Aug. 24, 2011, the defendants traveled in several cars and followed a traveling jeweler from New York he visited several jewelry stores to show his merchandise. At one point, Gutierrez even followed him into an electronics store as he shopped.
The next day, the five robbers waited for him at the location where he had left his merchandise at the end of the previous evening as he came to retrieve his items. They met with others and followed him again from Houston to College Station in at least four cars. Eventually, in College Station, they robbed him of approximately $200,000 worth of jewelry at gunpoint.
Immediately thereafter, Gutierrez and Carvajal were involved in a traffic accident, but fled. They were soon arrested for fleeing the scene of an accident. Inside the car, officers found broken glass consistent with the recent broken window from the victim’s car along with other evidence tying them to the robbery.
Brayan Vargas and Tito Vargas were later arrested at apartment complex in Houston for their role in the College Station robbery based upon evidence developed after the robbery. At the time of their arrest, agents located a large sum of U.S. currency, a diamond tester and jewelry taken during the College Station robbery. They also discovered jewelry taken during a robbery in Shreveport, La.
Luis Flores was arrested for his role in the College Station robbery while serving time in Texas Department of Corrections for an attempted theft of a jeweler that occurred on April 21, 2011. At the time of the College Station robbery, he was out on bond on that charge.
Brayan Vargas, who was initially arrested on related state charges, had been released on bond on those charges but fled. He is currently a fugitive for both the state warrant and the federal warrant for robbing a jeweler traveling in interstate commerce.
This prosecution is a result of the collaborative work of members of the FBI, police departments in College Station and Navasota, Brazos County District Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kebharu H. Smith and Joe Magliolo are prosecuting the case.
HOUSTON – A Bryan chiropractor has entered a plea of guilty to engaging in a conspiracy to defraud various automobile insurance companies of more than $3 million, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today.
Chase Lindsey, 34, is the co-owner of Lindsey Chiropractic Care located in Bryan. Today, he admitted he participated in a two-year conspiracy to defraud numerous auto insurance companies by allowing fraudulent chiropractic bills to be created under his name for treatments which were never performed and used as support for fraudulent settlement demand letters sent to auto insurance companies.
Lindsey entered into an agreement with the office manager of a law firm which represented clients allegedly injured in auto accidents. Lindsey agreed to provide medical evaluations of, and recommend treatment for, those patients in exchange for $2,000 in cash per month, which totaled approximately $58,000 during the course of the conspiracy.
For the clients he actually evaluated, Lindsey routinely recommended medically unnecessary therapeutic treatments. In some instances, Lindsey either never evaluated the patient or did so after the patient had already begun receiving treatments. The treatments, if done, were done by unlicensed, untrained and unqualified individuals whom Lindsey never supervised. Lindsey always prescribed the same six treatments but the patients usually received only two: ice/heat packs and electric stimulation. He prescribed the treatments be done 3-4 times per week for 5-6 weeks, but patients usually went once a week for 3-4 weeks. Lindsey also provided no follow-up treatments.
Lindsey and others used four chiropractic clinics in the scheme. Lindsey started working at the first clinic, Texas Avenue Chiropractic Clinic, in February 2007 and continued until it closed on or about Sept. 1, 2007. After that, Lindsey was listed as the only chiropractor at H & E Chiropractic and Private Chiropractic Care, two businesses also involved in the conspiracy. After Private Chiropractic Care shut down in September 2009, Lindsey and others agreed to continue the fraud scheme by sending the law firm clients to Lindsey Chiropractic Care – Lindsey’s chiropractic clinic. Clients were sent there until search warrants were executed in November 2009.
Despite changing the name and location of the chiropractic clinic four times, the fraud scheme remained the same. Co-conspirators recruited individuals allegedly involved in auto accidents to be represented by the law firm who were then sent to Lindsey to be evaluated. Lindsey routinely prescribed medically unnecessary treatment which was provided, if at all, by unlicensed, untrained and unqualified individuals. Lindsey knew that most of the treatments were not being performed. Nonetheless, Lindsey allowed false and fraudulent chiropractic bills to be created under his name from each of the four clinics for treatments which were never performed.
The fraudulent bills were used as support for settlement demand letters sent to auto insurance companies which caused the insurance companies to issue settlement checks. Lindsey acknowledged the scheme to defraud the automobile insurance companies resulted in the submission of more than $3 million in false billing claims. The insurance companies paid at least $1.2 million in false claims during 2007-2009.
U.S. District Judge Kenneth Hoyt, who accepted the guilty plea, set sentencing for April 22, 2013. At that time, Lindsey faces up to 30 years in prison and a possible $1 million fine. As part of his plea agreement, Lindsey also agreed to pay restitution of $1.2 million to the insurance companies victimized by the scheme. Lindsey was permitted to remain on bond pending his sentencing.
The remaining defendants charged in relation to the conspiracy are set for trial on April 2, 2013.
The criminal charges are the result of a joint investigation by agents of the FBI and the National Insurance Crime Bureau. Assistant United States Attorney Al Balboni is prosecuting the case.
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