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tv   Nightline  ABC  October 24, 2013 12:35am-1:06am PDT

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♪ you'll never be lonely no more ♪
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tonight on "nightline" -- an audacious fraud. we are in miami, the american mecca of sun and sand where police are fighting a new crime wave. not drugs. not weapons. insurance fraud. it is a billion dollar problem and every time these guys do this -- it is costing you money. >> the gift of sight. we travel to the other side of the world where this medical team is racing to cure hundreds living in darkness. wait till you see what they do for this little girl. >> and royal baby mania, it
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wasn't kate's fashion stealing spotlight today. all eyes on the dress worn by baby george. [ male announcer ] the founder of mercedes-benz once wrote something on a sheet of paper ♪ the challenge always accepted. and the calling forever answered. ♪ introducing the all-new 2014 s-class. mercedes-benz. the best or nothing.
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good evening. arranging a phony fender-bender in the parking lot of a stripmall may seem like a victimless crime, it its not. the victim is you. personal injury fraud is a booming business costing the state of florida alone $1 billion a year. arguably, the capital of this crime wave is miami where law enforcement its now cracking down hard and they brought us along for a very interesting ride. here is abc's matt gutman. >> reporter: believe it or not, this fender-bender could be an $80,000 car crash. >> beautiful. >> reporter: and billion dollar
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problem. the man seen here on undercover video have staged this accident. for insurance fraud that no one got hurt. but there could be lots of victims like possibly you. >> these are surveillance photographs of the house. ♪ >> reporter: it is 5:30 in the morning. >> we are going to go knock on the doors. >> reporter: in the dark agents and police officers stage various meeting points around miami. [ indiscernible ] >> she is being charged with staged accident, six counts of insurance fraud. >> reporter: today's mission, to sweep up and eradicate 20 people suspected of being involved in a personal injury insurance fraud ring. among them, two medical clinic owners. cops tell us it may not be glamorous, but it is lucrative. how much money is some one like
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this suspected of bringing in? >> what do you think, oscar? >> millions. easily. >> reporter: for nine months agents front florida department of finance specializing insurance fraud have been unraveling what they believe is a complex racket of insurance fraud. prosecutors allege medical clinic owners, physicians, therapists and alleged accident victims have all organized fake accidents to rake in money from insurance payments. >> from our investigation this has been going on for about over a year, two years. >> reporter: on this morning the agents finally have them in their sights. why so early in the morning? >> we look ike to catch these pe while they're home. while they have got the guards down. and while -- sometime while they're still in bed. >> reporter: it is estimated personal injury fraud cost the state of florida alone over $1 billion a year. a loss that is passed done to you, the consumer in the form of
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higher and hyperigher insurance premiums. how does it work? as seen in the undercover video shot by a detectiven a previously prosecuted case it starts with a faked accident. that's all it could take. >> that's beautiful. that's good. police say it is perfectly orchestrated theater. the cars are now put in position on the street. the so-called passengers arrived on the scene. finally a call goes out to the police. >> yeah, i am on northwest, 1253. >> reporter: the next step happens later when the passengers aren't injured at all, go to a personal injury clinic allegedly set up, and where they are paid. and the employees file up to $10,000 per person insurance claims for massage therapy or treatments that are never performed. one car, four passengers, could generate $40,000.
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two cars, $80,000. for just one minor and fake collision. tomorrow, we'll look to do this at 6:00 in the morning. >> reporter: the day before the arrests go down, lieutenant rafael delgado briefs the team on the case, dubbed know mnomad services. four clinics, two owners, various employees who allegedly organize the staged accidents, and people accused of participating as paid passengers. del gado tells us five car accidents the suspects were allegedly involved in cost insurance companies more than $400,000. >> place them under arrest x plain to them what is going on. -- explain to them what is going on. they know what is going on. many individuals have prior arrests for forgery, larceny, narcotics, also some of them have been arrest ford resisting
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law enforcement. so, again, safety number one. happened from here to there. >> reporter: the two men take me on a tour of where one accident took place. soap this is where the magic happens. street corners like this, residential areas? pretty quiet. >> that's correct. pretty quiet. no one sees it. >> how do they consistently find enough people to populate the cars and crash them. >> tell you, sit in the car, be involved in the accident. for $2,000. >> reporter: how big a business? >> making a lot of money. we had in the past, my understanding, people who were into narcotics are into staging an accident. >> reporter: the accident is really the first step. they need the clinic. >> they need the clinics. without the clinics this is all useless. >> reporter: we went to try to find magic hands one of the four clinics targeted in the operation. >> magic hands, one of the pip clinics that was -- billing for
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services not rendered. come here, sign paperwork. never come back for the services. >> when we pulled into the parking lot it was pretty tough to spot. >> the place we are going is right here on the corner by the stairs. >> really hidden. >> reporter: this place is totally hidden. we walk by nondescript office doors. >> it's locked. >> according to the agents the clinics can generate big money. >> hundreds of thousand. >> it is volume. you know, keep pumping them in. volume, volume, volume. making as much as possible. >> reporter: very possible in this nondescript, kind of hid ten little stripmall here, there is millions of dollars worth of billing going on. >> yes. >> yes. >> after months and months of following paper trails, tracking down suspects, conducting surveillance, delgado and the teams are fanning out in the predawn darkness to catch their
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suspects. >> feeling nervous? >> not nervous. want few get it done. >> reporter: at 6:00 a.m. it begins. they say you are a physicians assistant? >> yeah. >> reporter: they also say-up have been filing false insurance claims? >> false insurance? >> false insurance claims? surprised? >> yeah. i don't know what happened. >> reporter: within the hour. nearly 20 suspects have been taken into custody and are on their way back to headquarters and questioning. within days they' have all entered not guilty pleas. this crew may or may not be guilty. our agents tell us personal insurance scams, show no signs of slowing down. for "nightline," matt gutman, in
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miami. a serious, on going problem in our country. thanks to matt gutman. next on the broadcast, one american doctor on the other side of the world with a tight deadline. can he help hundred of people. one little girl. see again. plus that wave, the outfit, the star buturn today for baby geor. once wrote something on a sheet of paper and placed it in his factory for all to see. ♪ four simple words where the meaning has never been lost.
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tonight, a race against time with enormous stakes. traveling to the other side of
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the world with an american doctor who has days to give desperate people an astonishing gift. the ability to see again. this is wondrous, emotional work. abc's david muir was there to witness it firsthand. the latest in our series off the map. tonight, the gift of sight. as the sun comes up, standing in a field in ethiopia, the little girl, whose father brought her nearly 200 miles with one wish that an american doctor would help her. and she is not the only one making that journey. coming over the hills full of villagers across ethiopia who heard the doctor is coming. we land with him in the remote city. dr. jeffrey tabin has come 8,000 miles from home in park city utah, there is little team to spare. hundred are waiting. patients who are blind. >> we are in one of the highest rates of blandne neblindness in.
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on this day, he is the third. we are pulling into the hospital now? >> this is the hospital. >> reporter: and most of the people we see here are waiting for you and the team? >> they're all waiting for us. >> reporter: this is your doctor? they ask him to look at a little boy, just 8, named malik. he has a cataract. actually he has cataracts in both eyes. >> reporter: he can't see the blackboard. >> he can't see the blackboard. >> reporter: ethiopia devastated by eye disease. doctors pin the to poverty, poor nutrition, genetics and scorching sun. >> this is a loine of people. >> reporter: each with a tiny piece of tape, bearing a number above their eyes. a nurse asks this boy if he can see. his face blank as the doctor hold up his fingers. out back, the building housing the operating room.
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suddenly a wave of villagers who have heard the doctor is here. >> you can see the huge line of patients coming from over here toward the hospital. >> reporter: is it at all daunting that every single one of these patients is hoping that you will bring their sight back? >> i am operating every single eye is a life. a life. this lady here is totally blind. the one being led by her son. >> reporter: she is like so many of the blind here, their body almost caving in after years in the darkness. inside down the stairwell, you can see through the windows, family members who guided their loved ones here, pushing through the door to get in. then, we turn the corner. doctor, all these patients are blind in both eyes. >> are totally blind in both eyes. she doesn't see the shadow, the hand move. >> reporter: and then a rare promise from that american doctor. >> this time tomorrow, she
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should be seeing -- she should be seeing clearly. >> reporter: he gets ready in the corner of the room with the kit, yellow bag, the instruments he will use to perform the cataract, perfected with a doctor. they have sought out the blind all over the world. 500,000 surgeries together. >> we will be doing one every seven or eight minutes. >> reporter: we embed with this team for three days. >> this is extremely difficult, guys. >> reporter: everybody in the or has a patient being treated now. you can see here, five or six patients waiting to go in. this is just the beginning. come around the corner. they have to sign in and wait outside. for the hope that they will get to see the doctor today. in fact, come with me here. you can see this line. these are the patient who all hope to get into that or. and right there in the crowd, that little face, number 245, nurses putting on her hospital gown.
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you can see that huge cataract in her left eye. she walks in, the doctor holds up a finger, she can't see it. and we ask, does she think the doctor will fix it? the youngest of patients, now on the operating table. and with night fall, comes the hope they will be able to see the sunrise. early the next morning, the lines form quickly. so they're all waiting for today? >> we're just about ready to start taking off patches. several of the people haven't been able to see in up to ten years. they're going to be seeing again for the first timen ein a long time. i love the delayed moment. the patch comes off. take is a couple second to register. people realize they can see. >> reporter: you have given them their sight back. >> our team has given them their sight back. >> reporter: take some credit. he takes one of the first patches off. the farmer takes the doctor's hand. and then the doctor with an
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order. tell him to touch his nose. yes! yes. and then -- the sound of joy. and a dance. >> perfect. >> reporter: they can pass an american driver's test, post-op, day one. >> reporter: by his side the doctor's daughter, he brought from america, quietly putting the drops in the reborn eyes. her father moving to the patients with patches on beth eyes. >> these are all patients who are completely blind where they couldn't see the shadow of their hand move this close to their face. one day ago. >> reporter: today? >> i hope we will find out. >> reporter: a mother brought by her son. both of the patches come off. >> beautiful.
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can you see? >> reporter: she can see. as she thanks the doctor, we ask if she had seen her son. he is here. we should find him. she had been waiting for years to see him again. >> reporter: you want to see her? >> yes, of course. >> reporter: let's go see her. praising god, a kiss. how does he look? and then a message only ape mother could give. she wants him to shave? so many reunions. do you think you can cure, preventible blindness. >> we can. the one intervention we do and then people see the rest of their life. >> reporter: we wondered about one more patient, the little girl we met the first morning waiting in the field. good morning. how many? two!
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flashing a smile, she can see again. her father, thanking the doctor for a gift. i'm david muir for "nightline" in ethiopia. >> beautiful girl. beautiful story. our thanks to david muir. an $11 lens, a seven minute operation. by the way, abc news viewers have donated $330,000 to the himalayan cataract project. to learn more you can donate yourself and go to abc coming up next here on the broadcast, on a much lighter note. was that a dress baby george was wearing today? and by the way how much would it cost to get the same beret that kate was wearing today? lready h. ask your doctor if your heart is healthy enough for sex. do not take viagra if you take nitrates for chest pain; it may cause an unsafe drop in blood pressure. side effects include headache, flushing, upset stomach, and abnormal vision. to avoid long-term injury, seek immediate medical help for an erection lasting more than four hours. stop taking viagra and call your doctor right away
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if you experience a sudden decrease or loss in vision or hearing. [ cellphone beeps ] this is the age of taking action. viagra. talk to your doctor.
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tonight an all royal feed frenzy. starring the newest addition to the family. 3-month-old prince george was cristened today making only his second public appearance. a small ceremony, a good glimpse of the youngest member of the church of england.
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he waved with help from dad. much of the focus was on george george's -- is that a dress? we are told it is a christening gown. every royal baby must wear one apparently. kate was wearing a real dress. an adaptation of an alexander mcqueen design from 2012. and a beret made specifically for this day from one of her favorite hat designers, jane taylor. by the way if you fancy it as they say across the pond you. can buy one of the berets on line, today for $1,200. >> also today, the god parents of prince george were made official. only one royal among them, a cousin of william. not selected to be god parents, prince harry and pippa middleton, plus ones were not invited. no new gossip on that front. we do know this, photographer jason bell has been commissioned to capture something rare


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