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AG: Woman scams insurer for phony chiropractic treatments

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PHOENIX (CBS5) -

A Phoenix woman who defrauded an insurance company out of nearly $700,000 in phony chiropractic treatments has been sentenced to prison and probation.

Esther Obrzut, 42, was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison for forgery, followed by five years probation for fraudulent schemes and artifices. Obrzut was ordered to pay $653,108.01 in restitution to Cigna Health and Life Insurance.

The Arizona attorney general's office said Obrzut billed Cigna for $1,152,779 for 4,490 chiropractic treatments for herself, her husband and her two minor children between May 1, 2003 and February 2011.

Of the $1 million billed to Cigna, $684,545.01 was paid out for treatments never received by Obrzut or her family, according to an investigation by the Arizona Department of Insurance. 

Obrzut was the medical insurance biller for chiropractor Dr. Ramsey Gordon and Power Up Family Chiropractic between May 1, 2003 and April 1, 2011. State officials said she fraudulently submitted insurance claims to Cigna for chiropractic treatments that were never performed on her, her husband or her two sons.

She submitted billings for 2,944 treatment dates between May 3, 2002 and April 2008, listing Gordon as the treating physician, state officials said. Gordon had no knowledge of these billings and the checks totaling $484,386 were sent to the Obrzut's home address, officials said.

After she left her job with Gordon in April 2008, Obrzut partnered with chiropractor Lora Contreras to open Power Up Chiropractic. Obrzut was the office manager and Contreras treated the patients. Between April 2008 and February 2011, Obrzut submitted claims to Cigna for 1,546 treatment dates listing Contreras as the treating physician, officials said. Cigna paid a total of $668,393 for these billings. Contreras was not aware that Obrzut was submitting these false bills, officials said. 

Obrzut's family received some chiropractic treatments from Gordon and Contreras, the Arizona attorney general's office said. However, of the $1,152,779 billed to Cigna, it was determined that $684,545 was paid out for treatments never received by Obrzut or her family.

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