PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--In a continuing effort to combat insurance fraud and other deceptive and abusive practices being committed in Florida, GEICO has filed a lawsuit against Bobbie Celler, his collection company and two for-profit Florida hospitals seeking to terminate a scheme it alleges violates Florida law and aimed to mislead the insurer. In its lawsuit, GEICO seeks permanent injunctive and declaratory relief, as well as damages under Florida law, including Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act. GEICO says that the Florida action is a preview of similar lawsuits that will be filed in the future.

GEICO alleges that the Defendants engaged in a deceptive and misleading scheme in which bills for payment of hospital and professional services were presented in a volume and manner designed to mislead and/or deceive GEICO into believing that the claims were legitimate and that the amounts demanded were actually due and owing, when in fact that was not the case. In addition, GEICO alleges that the deceptive/misleading manner in which the claims were presented was designed to deprive GEICO from determining whether payment was legitimately owed so as to be able to exercise its statutory right to accurately consider and cure disputed payments.

"GEICO has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to insurance fraud and abusive/misleading practices that attempt to advance that fraud," said Tara Carthew, assistant vice president of claims in GEICO's Lakeland, Florida, office. "These incidents of fraud and related practices hurt consumers because they cause premiums to increase." Carthew went on to say that GEICO has a long history of seeking out individuals willing to commit fraud. “GEICO intends to file future lawsuits to continue making every effort to protect its customers and the public from fraudulent practices such as those set forth in the Complaint.”

GEICO filed its case—Government Employees Insurance Company, et al. v. Emergency Recovery, Inc., Bobbie Celler, Delray Medical Center, Inc. and St. Mary’s Medical Center, Inc.—in the Circuit Court of the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit, Palm Beach County, Florida. GEICO is represented by John P. Marino of Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP.

GEICO (Government Employees Insurance Company), the second-largest auto insurer in the U.S., was founded in 1936 and insures more than 28 million vehicles.

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