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Mastermind Behind $30 Million Trip-And-Fall Insurance Scheme Gets 6 Years in Prison

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A Manhattan federal judge sentenced the architect behind an elaborate trip-and-fall personal injury insurance scheme to six years in prison. The scheme, which prosecutors referred to as “horrific,” entailed recruiting homeless and indigent people to fake slip-and-fall accidents in front of businesses throughout New York City, and subsequently undergo dangerous surgeries to profit from personal injury claims. In total the scam reportedly led to over $30 million in fraudulent insurance payments

Bryan Duncan, 32, of Queens, New York, was ordered by U.S. District Judge Sidney H. Stein to forfeit $644,000 and report for detention on October 2nd.

During Monday’s courtroom proceedings, Judge Stein told Duncan, “You’re smart. You’re ambitious. You’re enterprising. You have a good future ahead of you. But this was a serious crime, you know that.” Duncan was convicted in May 2019 after prosecutors from the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s Office charged him and two other individuals — Robert Locust and Ryan Rainford — with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud in relation to the scheme, which reportedly began in 2012 and occurred over seven years.

At a sentencing in January, Manhattan U.S. Attorney, Geoffrey S. Berman, called the fraud scheme  “callous and exploitive.”  “They [Duncan, Locust, and Rainford] honed the slip-and-fall ‘accident’ to an efficient operation, recruiting people to stage accidents, filing fraudulent lawsuits against property owners, steering ‘accident victims’ to particular crooked medical clinics, and often even directing them to have unnecessary surgeries.  Now they will spend years in prison for their crimes.”

Peter Kalkanis, a doctor who has yet to be sentenced following a guilty plea, is said to have organized the scheme with Duncan. The two parted ways in 2015, however, and Duncan then partnered with co-defendant Kerry Gordon. Together, Duncan and Gordon formed D&G Premier Solutions LLC. The company reportedly made $1.6 million in illegal profits by funding fake injuries. Prosecutors alleged Duncan recruited hundreds of New Yorkers, many homeless and others “so penniless they would ask for food.” Gordon also pleaded guilty prior to the trial, but has yet to be sentenced.

In January, Judge Stein indicated that he intended to sentence Duncan to 80 months in prison, but ultimately chose to reduce the sentence to 72 months. Prosecutors requested a prison sentence exceeding 10 years, arguing via court filings that in addition to the scam, Duncan attempted to obstruct justice by intimidating a cooperating witness — Alvin Martin, a childhood friend. Martin testified he had received $40,000 from a fake trip-and-fall case spearheaded by Duncan.

Duncan’s attorney, Patrick Megaro, was required to participate in the sentencing via telephone due to a positive COVID-19 test. Following the hearing, Megaro confirmed via public statement that Duncan plans to appeal his conviction.

“The court’s denial of the government’s application for restitution, the government’s reduction of the previously-sought forfeiture amount of $1.6 million down to $644,000, and the reduction of the prison sentence only confirms what we have been saying all along — that the government’s evidence was weak and ambiguous at best,” Megaro said.

Duncan could have received a maximum sentence exceeding 33 years.

Attorneys representing the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York were Nicholas Chiuchiolo and Nicholas Folly of the Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit.

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