SHERMAN OAKS—On March 12, an attorney, two chiropractors and a paralegal administrator pleaded not guilty to charges in which they are accused of participating in a massive auto insurance fraud ring.
According to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office, attorney Vadim, 40, of Encino; chiropractors Arkady Pishik, 52, of Sherman Oaks; Dely Diaz, 37, of Lakewood; and paralegal administrator Michael Itkin, 50, of Los Angeles were arrested on March 11, and have been ordered to return to court on June 17. A hearing will be slated to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to require the defendants to stand trial.
Also accused are chiropractor Arutyun Tovanyan, 33, of Studio City; paralegal administrator Geliya Akselrud, 67, of Los Angeles; and Michael Itkin, 50.
Schar is charged with 16 counts of insurance fraud and four counts of possession of illegal narcotics, including cocaine, methamphetamine, concentrate cannabis and marijuana.
Chiropractors and paralegal administrators of three law firms have also been arrested and charged, including chiropractor Arkady Pishik, 52, and paralegal administrator Alex Shidlovitsky, 56, who has residences in Woodland Hills and Calabasas. Pishik faces 14 counts of insurance fraud, and Shidlovitsky is charged with 22 counts.
Itkin reportedly fainted after opening the door to DA investigators. Itkin declined medical treatment and was arrested without further incident.
Diaz is charged with two counts of insurance fraud, and Itkin is suspected of 16 counts of insurance fraud. Tovanyan is charged with eight counts of insurance fraud, Akselrud with 16 counts, and Shidlovitsky with 22 counts. The defendants are suspected of scamming 19 insurance companies by filing false claims for arranged accidents with a loss valued at about $550,000.
The case originates from an investigation called “Operation Big Fish,” which began in April, 2007, in which 63 conspirators were reportedly charged and 27 had already pled guilty or no contest, according to prosecutors.