Driver in Upper Hanover crash found guilty of insurance fraud
NORRISTOWN >> A man involved in an Upper Hanover crash is headed to jail after he claimed damage to his car occurred after he obtained an insurance policy when, in fact, the damage occurred just moments before he obtained the coverage.
State agents alleged Steven Francis Notter, 51, of the 900 block of East Montgomery Street, Salisbury Township, Lehigh County, actually obtained the insurance coverage while at the scene of the two-vehicle crash along Route 663 and Geryville Pike in Upper Hanover.
Notter was sentenced in Montgomery County Court to nine to 18 months in the county jail after he pleaded guilty to felony charges of insurance fraud and attempted theft by deception in connection with events that unfolded after the April 2016 crash. The sentence was imposed by Judge Richard P. Haaz, who accepted a plea agreement in the matter.
The case was investigated by the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General.
Notter, according to a criminal complaint, was operating a Ford Econoline E-350 van involved in a collision with a 2002 GMC Savana van operated by a Quakertown, Bucks County, man at the Upper Hanover intersection on April 11, 2016. The second driver took cellphone photographs of the collision that were timestamped between 3:56 p.m. and 4:17 p.m., court papers indicate.
A state police trooper said the second driver contacted police about the crash at 4:07 p.m. and the trooper arrived on the scene at 4:13 p.m. The trooper “noted in his report that Notter did not have proof of financial responsibility and when asked to call his insurance company to get the policy number, Notter took a relatively long time to get the information,” according to the criminal complaint.
The investigation determined Notter contacted Nationwide Insurance by phone at about 4:20 p.m. April 11 and obtained a sixmonth liability automobile insurance policy for his van, according to the arrest affidavit.
During the recorded phone conversation, Notter was asked if he had any accidents or violations in the last three years and he responded, “Uh, no,” according to the criminal complaint, and the policy was issued at 4:47 p.m.
However, when insurance company officials investigated further, including obtaining information from the second driver’s insurer, they determined Notter’s policy was not “in force at the time of the collision,” according to the criminal complaint filed by Special Agent Richard Weisbrod of the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General.
Weisbrod alleged Notter “made misrepresentations by stating that he obtained an insurance policy with Nationwide prior to being involved in a collision, when in fact the policy was obtained after the collision occurred.”
“Notter also committed application fraud when he obtained the insurance policy by answering ‘Uh, no’ when asked if he was involved in any accidents or had any violations in the past three years,” Weisbrod alleged in court documents.
In addition to the jail time, the judge said Notter is on the hook for the $500 deductible the second driver had to pay out in connection with the $2,369 bill to repair his vehicle.