A Minnesota based chiropractic clinic is currently facing charges of credit card fraud after authorities found out that the said clinic was using the identities of its patients and customers without consent for credit card applications.
In this suit initiated by the State of Minnesota, Okeson Optimal Chiropractic clinic, and its owner, Erik Okeson, D.C. were charged for using deceptive practices in order to make money from customers.
The clinic offered health credit cards that would enable clients and customers to enjoy discounts and other benefits. Patients easily signed up, lured by attractive features on the health card.
To facilitate application, the clinic would enlist unsuspecting patients as co-applicants. They would use without consent classified information such as names and Social Security numbers of clients who provide personal information during initial visits. In this case, clients involved would unknowingly be subjected to credit history checks by the clinic's authorized credit card issuer, GE Bank. In addition, they were exposed to credit risks, such as being liable and accountable for defaults committed by primary cardholders.
To further improve the chances of getting approved, the clinic would inflate the incomes of primary credit card applicants. For example a gas attendant who would under normal circumstances earn an annual income of $15,000 would have a bloated declared yearly income of $180,000. Similarly, a nurse aide grossing $14,000 yearly would be listed as having a $150,000 annual income. There are also cases of retirees whose annual income would be stated by the clinic as $160,000 when in fact they are only earning $30,000 annually.
Once approved, primary cardholders would have access to credit lines that otherwise they would not be qualified for, which the clinic exploited to the hilt. Clients, thinking that they stumbled on a gold mine when they were issued health cards were pre-billed by Okeson Optimal Chiropractic Clinic for undelivered services in the range of $1,200 to $4,300. Also, in the event that card holders are not able to pay on time, GE Bank would assess them with highly prohibitive late fees.
The investigating team concluded that this was a money-generating scheme employed by the said clinic that preyed on legitimate customers.
However, this was not the first time that the State of Minnesota filed a lawsuit against a health facility for defrauding clients. In August of this year, Express Health, P.A. and its owner, Cory Couillard, D.C., was charged with a similar case of using a scheme that enrolled their clients for health cards without prior permission and inflating incomes.