"The Accident Swindlers" - Pamela Zekman, Gene Mustain - Chicago Sun-Times and WLS-TV
"They're getting away with $3 billion a year -- and all you drivers pay"
"Cashing in on crashes. "Thousands collect each year. They fake injuries and turn minor bump-and-bruise automobile accidents into an estimated $3 billion annual bonanza. "That is the accident swindle. It is masterminded by unscrupulous lawyers and ambulance chasers. They tell their clients how to fake pain. They are aided by crooked clinics and doctors eager to play along for profit. "During an eight-month investigation, reporters from the Sun-Times and WLS-TV (Channel 7) infiltrated the swindle and learned how it works. "With the cooperation of the Chicago Police Department and Allstate Insurance, reporters posed as victims of minor automobile accidents that never occurred. . . ."
“Legal Advice? Theirs Is Fraud: Five Who Traffic in Automobile-Accident Cases”
"They are counselors at law who counsel fraud. "They each coach their clients to fake or exaggerate injuries to win inflated insurance settlements. They get one-third of the bogus pay-out. . . ."
“How Superswindling Pays: Just a Little Nets a Lot If Accident Case Is ‘Perfect’”
"Some lawyers are always looking for the 'perfect' accident. When they find it, they're willing ot make under-the-table payments for a piece of the action. "The law firms of Sheldon Oliver Zisook and Basil C. Elias spread liberal amounts of upfront money around for the chance to represent Sun-Times and WLS-TV (Channel 7) reporters posing as accident victims . . . "
“Lawyers’ Swindling Sidekicks”
“Accidents Too Good to Leave to Lawyers”
"You don't have to be a lawyer to practice personal injury law. "Archie Burton, Fred Harvey and Wes McKinney know. They are former ambulance chasers who left the streets and independently created a new, lucrative occupation -- the accident 'broker.' "Years of seeing lawyers make big money from automobile accidents taught them something they could make it, too. And they are so expert at their new trade, they now teach attorneys the accident business . . . "
Editorial: "The Accident Swindlers": "The Crash and Cash 'Game' and the Chief Perpetrators" - Chicago Sun-Times
“Chasers Converge on Accident Scene”
"Anyone can be an ambulance chaser, in Chicago, thousands of people are. "Most are amateurs -- hospital employees, ambulance attendants, tow-truck drivers, cab-drivers or body-and-fender men. For $50 or $100, they refer accident victims to lawyers. "Professional chasers, however, are a breed apart . . . " "
“A Hospital for Greedy"
"It is The Accident Swindlers' favorite hospital. "Hundreds of auto-accident patients have walked through its doors -- unquestioned, unexamined, unhurt. "They receive little or no treatment, yet they are charged luxury-hotel rates. The usually stay five days and collect a $1000 to $2000 bill used by their lawyers to inflate insurance settlements. . . "
“Our Own Phony Patient Is Hospitalized and Discovers the Hospital Is a Mirage"
"The patient was a Sun-Times reporter posing as an auto-accident victim. The Associated Physicians' Clinic had just invented injuries for him. Now it was sending him to Community Hospital of Evanston, where nearly all the patients are equally phony. . . "
“The Accident Mills—Clinics Processing Cheats by the Thousands"
"The medicine practiced at some clnics in Chicago is purely accidental. "Victims of minor bump-and-bruise accidents are given the treatment -- fraudulent bills, faked diagnoses, unnecessary hospitalizations and haphazard 'therapy.' . . . "
Reaction: "The Accident Swindlers": “Probe Abuses at Hospital—State Legislator” - Unsigned - Chicago Sun-Times
“These Chiropractors Are Master Hands . . . at Juggling the Facts on Injuries"
"Dr. J. Dale Bargyh committed one significant oversight when he submitted a $670 bill to a reporter posing s an auto-accident victim. "Bargyh never examined the patient . . . "
“Doctors’ ‘Treatments’ Keep Fraud Alive”
" Dr. Gerald J. Rabin is a real operator. He urges unnecessary surgery. "'You've got a separation of your shoulder, and we'll probably have to operate,' Rabin told a reporter posing as an auto-accident victim. . . "
Reaction: “The Accident Swindlers": "State Agency Probes Practices Uncovered in Swindler Series” - Chicago Sun-Times
“The Hypocritical Oath—and Doctors Who Lie by It"
"There's a doctor in Skokie who uses an ordinary household instrument to examine patients. "Dr. Nicholas P. Mastores uses the telephone. "After a telephone conversation with a reporter, Mastores submitted a $100 bill for a 'complete physical examination' and 'x-ray interpretation.' There was no exam. There were no x-rays. . ."
“‘Swindlers’ Take Pains to Get Themselves Hospitalized”
"Checking into a hospital can be as easy as checking into a hotel. "That's what completely healthy Sun-Times and WLS-TV (Channel 7) reporters posing as auto-accident victims discovered during their investigation of The Accident Swindlers. "If other accident victims were hospitalized as easily as the reporters were, 'we wouldn't have enough hotel and motel rooms in the country to take care of their needs,' said one prominent orthopedic specialist . . . "
“Accident Cheats Add to Hospital Image Problem”
"Northlake Community Hospital has an image problem. "Two of its directors are under federal indictment on charges of defrauding the Medicare program and the hospital of more than $350,000. One of its busiest doctors is banned from the state Medicaid program and another was banned and reinstated. "Its operators say they have turned a formerly bankrupt hospital into an $11 million asset - specializing in podiatry services. "But the Sun-Times and WLS-TV (Channel 7) found that Northlake has another sideline -- phony auto-accident cases . . . ". . . An undercover reporter, posing as an accident 'victim' was admitted to Northlake by [Dr. Noberto T.] Agustin. The doctor invented serious injuries and fixed hospital records to show that he saw the patient every day. In fact, Agustin saw the patient once -- on the night before the reporter was discharged and handed a $697.30 bill for a four-day stay. . . ."
“‘Accident-Prone’ Hospital Cures Itself"
"Many doctors are outraged at the sight of phony patients being hospitalized solely for the purpose of inflating insurance claims. Some do something about it.. . . ."
“‘No Fault’—an Answer to Accident Fraud”
"Victims of minor auto accidents in Illinois are overcompensated while victims of major accidents are undercompensated. "Experts agree that is the unfair result of the current system for settling auto-acciddent claims in the state. . . . "
Reaction: "The Accident Swindlers:" - "Agency Ignored Reports of Phony Patients" - Pamela Zekman and Gene Mustain- Chicago Sun-Times
Reaction: "The Accident Swindlers": "Federal Panel Probes Fake Car-Injury Claims" - Pamela Zekman and Gene Mustain - Chicago Sun-Times
Reaction: "The Accident Swindlers": "Hospital Executive's Sideline Pads 'Take'" - Pamela Zekman and Gene Mustain - Chicago Sun-Times
Reaction: "The Accident Swindlers": "State Board Orders Evanston Hospital to Hearing'" - Pamela Zekman and Gene Mustain - Chicago Sun-Times
Reaction: "The Accident Swindlers": "Series Spawns a Wave of Hospital Shakeups'" - Pamela Zekman and Gene Mustain - Chicago Sun-Times
Story and Editorial: "The Accident Swindlers": "Thompson Bills Hit Accident Fraud" - Pamela Zekman and Gene Mustain - Chicago Sun-Times
Follow-up: "The Accident Swindlers": "Smashup Cheats- How They Get YOU'" - Pamela Zekman and Gene Mustain - Chicago Sun-Times
Reaction: "The Accident Swindlers": "Hospital in Evanston Loses Accreditation'" - Pamela Zekman and Gene Mustain - Chicago Sun-Times
Reaction: "The Accident Swindlers": "Panel Blasts Hospital Board'" - Gene Mustain and Pamela Zekman - Chicago Sun-Times
Reaction: "The Accident Swindlers:" - "State Panel Asks Voiding of Chiropractor's License" - Pamela Zekman and Gene Mustain - Chicago Sun-Times
Follow-up: "The Accident Swindlers": “Hospital Aide Ties to 2 Clinics Told” - Pamela Zekman and Gene Mustain - Chicago Sun-Times
"A top official of Community Hospital of Evanston had lucrative financial relationships with two medical clinics that supplied hundreds of the hospital's phony accident patients . . . "
Reaction: "The Accident Swindlers" “Two Linked to Ripoffs Convicted" - Pamela Zekman and Gene Mustain - Chicago Sun-Times
Reaction: "The Accident Swindlers" “Chiropractor to Aid Prosecutors" - Kay Rutherford - Chicago Sun-Times
Reaction: "The Accident Swindlers" “Hospital Under Fire in Probe Shuts Down" - Pamela Zekman and Gene Mustain - Chicago Sun-Times
Reaction: "The Accident Swindlers" “State to Suspend License of Hospital in Evanston” - Pamela Zekman and Gene Mustain - Chicago Sun-Times