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Chiropractors charged in insurance fraud case

March 11, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
An attorney and three chiropractors were among several arrested Thursday in connection with a large-scale auto insurance fraud ring.The group is accused of defrauding 19 insurance companies by allegedly filing false claims for staged accidents, with the loss estimated at nearly $550,000. The case stems from an investigation dubbed "Operation Big Fish," in which 63 people have been charged and 27 have already pleaded guilty or no contest.

Prosecutors said the defendants were part of a larger conspiracy involving more than 300 suspects.

Deputy District Attorney Gregory Alker of the Automobile Insurance Fraud Division said investigators of the District Attorney's Bureau of Investigation arrested attorney Vadim Schar, 40, at his Encino home without incident.

Schar is charged with 16 counts of insurance fraud and four counts of possession of illegal narcotics, including cocaine, methamphetamine, concentrated cannabis and marijuana.

Chiropractors and paralegal administrators of three law firms also were arrested and charged. Among them were chiropractor Arkady Pishik, 52, and paralegal administrator Alex Shidlovitsky, 56. Pishik faces 14 counts of insurance fraud, while Shidlovitsky is charged with 22 counts.

Chiropractors Arutyun Tovanyan, 33, and Dely Diaz, 37, also are charged in the complaint, as are paralegal administrators Geliya Akselrud, 67, and Michael Itkin, 50. The four face a total 42 counts of insurance fraud.