Night Club in Palm Beach

Owner of Rumbass nightclub, brother guilty in $3M fraud scheme

Owner of Rumbass nightclub, brother guilty in M fraud scheme photoThe owner of the Rumbass nightclub and his brother were convicted of 16 charges Tuesday for raking in as much as $3 million by staging traffic accidents and then billing insurance companies for fake injuries they treated at a clinic in Lake Worth.

After a nearly three-week trial, a federal jury deliberated for roughly two hours before finding brothers Janio and Jharildan “Harold” Vico each guilty of 12 counts of mail fraud, two counts of money-laundering, conspiracy to commit money-laundering and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

The owner of Rumbass nightclub, seen here, and his brother were convicted of 16 charges for raking in as much as $3 million by staging traffic accidents and then billing insurance companies for fake injuries they treated at a clinic in Lake Worth. (Palm Beach Post file photo)

While friends and family members cried softly, the brothers were led from the courtroom in handcuffs and taken to the Palm Beach County jail to await sentencing Jan. 8. The most serious charges carry maximum 20-year sentences.

The brothers are among dozens to stand trial in U.S. District Court in South Florida for using the state’s personal injury protection insurance laws to get rich. By law, all Florida drivers must carry PIP and insurers must pay up to $10, 000 for each person injured in a crash.

Some of those who testified against the brothers are already serving lengthy sentences for running similar clinics in Palm Beach County.

Attorneys for the brothers, who operated V&V Rehabilitation Center in an office building on 10th Avenue North from 2009 to 2011, sought to persuade jurors that those who testified against their clients were opportunists. Many were trying to avoid prosecution or get reduced sentences, said attorney Humberto Dominguez, who represents Janio Vico. The 31-year-old owns Rumbass, a club on Military Trail in suburban West Palm Beach.

Janio Vico, who testified in his own defense, was operating a legitimate health clinic, Dominguez insisted. While those he described as “cockroaches” masterminded the scheme and then fled, Vico stayed.

“Who commits a fraud and stays?” he asked jurors. Attorney Sam Montesino, who represents 33-year-old Jharildan Vico, made similar arguments.

In addition to seeking lengthy prison sentences, Assistant U.S. Attorney Ellen Cohen will ask federal Judge Robin Rosenberg to force the brothers to forfeit nearly $400, 000 and homes they purchased with what she called ill-gotten gains.

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