Four nabbed in in­sur­ance fraud sweep

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Michael P. Rel­la­han mrel­la­han@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @Ch­escoCourtNews on Twit­ter

Four Ch­ester County res­i­dents were among 50 peo­ple re­cently charged by the state At­tor­ney Gen­eral’s Of­fice with in­sur­ance fraud, it was an­nounced Mon­day.

The county res­i­dents in­clude a Honey Brook Town­ship man, and three Coatesville res­i­dents, all of whom al­legedly tried to have in­sur­ance cover them for traf­fic ac­ci­dents that oc­curred be­fore their auto in­sur­ance poli­cies went into af­fect.

At­tor­ney Gen­eral Bruce R. Beemer made the an­nounce­ment fol­low­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions by his of­fice’s In­sur­ance Fraud Sec­tion.

The charges are part of a Novem­ber sweep con­ducted by the fraud sec­tion, which is the largest law en­force­ment en­tity in Penn­syl­va­nia with spe­cific author­ity to in­ves­ti­gate and pros­e­cute cases of in­sur­ance fraud. The to­tal po­ten­tial fraud in­volved in these cases is more than $1.1 mil­lion.

“In­sur­ance fraud re­sults in bil­lions of dol­lars of losses each year,” Beemer said. “This type of fraud also leads to higher in­sur­ance rates for ev­ery­one, which is why it is im­por­tant for our of­fice to be dili­gent in in­ves­ti­gat­ing and pros­e­cut­ing these crimes.”

The charges an­nounced Mon­day in­volve some of the most com­mon types of in­sur­ance fraud, ac­cord­ing to the press re­lease.

David G. Miller III, 32, of the 6200 block of Mount Pleas­ant Road, Honey Brook, is charged with one count each of in­sur­ance fraud and crim­i­nal at­tempt to com­mit theft by de­cep­tion. Ac­cord­ing to a crim­i­nal com­plaint filed in sup­port of the charges, Miller’s au­to­mo­bile was unin­sured when he was in­volved in an ac­ci­dent on June 6.

Af­ter the ac­ci­dent, he called All­state In­sur­ance Com­pany to ob­tain cov­er­age. Later, he pro­vided a recorded state­ment to

the in­sur­ance com­pany in which he al­legedly claimed the ac­ci­dent had oc­curred

af­ter he ob­tained the in­sur­ance pol­icy.

Charles Adams, 42, and Donna L. Smith, 59, both of the 900 block of Madi­son St., Coatesville, are both charged with one count each of in­sur­ance fraud,

crim­i­nal at­tempt to com­mit theft by de­cep­tion and crim­i­nal con­spir­acy. Adams is also charged with an ad­di­tional count of in­sur­ance fraud. Ac­cord­ing to in­ves­ti­ga­tors, Adams and Smith, his mother-in-law, both

made mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tions to Safe Auto In­sur­ance re­gard­ing the tim­ing of an ac­ci­dent that oc­curred in De­cem­ber 2015.

Smith was re­port­edly driv­ing Adams’ ve­hi­cle when she was in­volved in a

multi-ve­hi­cle ac­ci­dent. Adams al­legedly called Safe Auto In­sur­ance af­ter the ac­ci­dent oc­curred to ob­tain an in­sur­ance pol­icy. Roughly three hours af­ter ob­tain­ing the pol­icy, Adams called to re­port the ac­ci­dent in­volv­ing his mother-in-law, ac­cord­ing to in­ves­ti­ga­tors. Both Adams and Smith al­legedly pro­vided state­ments to the in­sur­ance com­pany that the ac­ci­dent oc­curred be­fore the pol­icy went into ef­fect. How­ever, an in­ves­ti­ga­tion that in­cluded in­ter­views with the other driv­ers in­volved in the crash con­firmed their state­ments were false.

Lastly, Kel­lie Jemi­son, 38, of the 1100 block of East Lin­coln High­way, Coatesville, is charged with one count each of in­sur­ance fraud, crim­i­nal use of a com­mu­ni­ca­tion fa­cil­ity and crim­i­nal at­tempt to com­mit theft by de­cep­tion, in ad­di­tion to one sep­a­rate count of in­sur­ance fraud. Ac­cord­ing to in­ves­ti­ga­tors, Jemi­son in Fe­bru­ary filed a claim through Safe Auto In­sur­ance Com­pany, her au­to­mo­bile in­sur­ance car­rier, re­lated to an ac­ci­dent that oc­curred the pre­vi­ous June.

Fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion con­firmed that the ac­ci­dent oc­curred be­fore Jemi­son’s pol­icy took ef­fect. Jemi­son is ac­cused of pro­vid­ing false in­for­ma­tion in the fraud­u­lent

claim that she made to her in­sur­ance com­pany.

In 1990, the state Leg­is­la­ture made in­sur­ance fraud a se­ri­ous crime in Penn­syl­va­nia, pun­ish­able by heavy fines and stiff prison sen­tences.

In 1994, leg­is­la­tion was en­acted in Penn­syl­va­nia es­tab­lish­ing the In­sur­ance Fraud Pre­ven­tion Author­ity (IFPA) and a Fraud Trust Fund. All in­sur­ance com­pa­nies au­tho­rized to trans­act busi­ness in Penn­syl­va­nia pay an an­nual assess­ment into the fund. The funds pro­vide fi­nan­cial sup­port to the Of­fice of At­tor­ney Gen­eral’s In­sur­ance Fraud Sec­tion and other law en­force­ment agen­cies to sup­port in­sur­ance fraud in­ves­ti­ga­tions and prose­cu­tions.

Pri­vate cit­i­zens can re­port al­le­ga­tions of in­sur­ance fraud us­ing an on­line form or by call­ing the IFPA’s hot­line at 1-888-565IFPA (4372).

Con­sumers with a com­plaint in­volv­ing an in­sur­ance com­pany that does not in­volve fraud should con­tact the Penn­syl­va­nia In­sur­ance De­part­ment at 1-877-881-6388 or the At­tor­ney Gen­eral’s Bureau of Con­sumer Protection at 1-800-441-2555.

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