WMC Investigates: The 'ambulance-chaser' - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

WMC Investigates: The 'ambulance-chaser'

The cops have seized the property of a Mid-South chiropractor suspected of insurance fraud. (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5) The cops have seized the property of a Mid-South chiropractor suspected of insurance fraud. (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)
Our 2012 investigation revealed Hathaway and his colleagues had been running a telemarketing scheme in violation of board rules. (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5) Our 2012 investigation revealed Hathaway and his colleagues had been running a telemarketing scheme in violation of board rules. (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)

(WMC) - A Shelby County Chancery Court judge has set a Sept. 17 petition hearing for a chiropractor under suspicion of insurance fraud.

Records revealed the Memphis Police Department's Organized Crime Unit (OCU) raided the Collierville, Tenn., home of Dr. Jared Hathaway May 7. Investigators seized Hathaway's vehicles, bank accounts and other assets purchased with proceeds suspected to be from "false or fraudulent insurance claims," according to the seizure records.

Hathaway has yet to be charged with a crime. His Nashville-based attorney filed a motion July 3, demanding that Memphis police return the seized property.

"It has been more than 30 days from the date of the seizure of property, and no administrative or civil forfeiture action has been initiated against [Hathaway]," wrote the chiropractor's attorney Daniel D. Warlick in the motion. "In addition, thereto, [Hathaway] has not been arrested, charged or indicted for any crimes or underlying illegal activity which would give legal cause for the seizure ..."

Neither the Memphis city attorney nor the Memphis Police Department's spokesperson would comment due to the pending litigation.

Dr. Richard Cole, a Bartlett, Tenn., chiropractor who also serves on the Tennessee Board of Chiropractic Examiners, said a WMC Action News 5 investigation precipitated the raid of the chiropractor's home.

Our 2012 investigation revealed Hathaway and his colleagues had been running a telemarketing scheme in violation of board rules. They would pull the names and contact information of auto accident victims listed 'not at fault' on police accident reports, then solicit them by phone.

Under the guise of a pseudo-government agency, they convinced an untold number of crash victims to come to Hathaway's clinic -- Kirby Physiotherapy, 3558 Kirby Parkway in Hickory Hill, Southeast Memphis -- for a 'free' examination, regardless of any pain or injuries.

The exams were not free.

"They are billing the insurance company [of the driver who was at fault]," said independent insurance agent Bennita Wade of Memphis.

"Absolutely, it is insurance fraud," Wade continued. "You weren't hurt, but you're going to get treatment and sometimes not one or two treatments, but 33 treatments, 44 treatments. This has a significant impact on our insurance premiums."

Despite our investigation and accident victims' testimony, the state chiropractic board has not disciplined Hathaway for violating its prohibition of telemarketing auto accident victims within 30 days of an accident.

Cole said the delay is due to a burdensome case load on state medical ethics investigators, as well as an assumption that the Shelby County District Attorney General's Office would pursue criminal charges against Hathaway.

"The board now believes the AG's not going to act on this, so the board now has picked it up again to take a look at it," Cole said.

Vince Higgins, spokesperson for the Shelby County District Attorney General's Office, said it would have no comment because there is no criminal case yet involving Hathaway.

The chiropractor's Memphis counsel is criminal defense attorney Leslie Ballin.

"I will be glad to try out any new product (on Andy, Will It Work?), however I am unavailable to talk about Hathaway," Ballin said in an e-mail response.

Shelby County Chancellor Walter Evans will preside at the Sept. 17 hearing over the property seizure petition.

Copyright 2014 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly