Driver in Up­per Hanover crash found guilty of in­sur­ance fraud

The Community Connection - - LOCAL NEWS - By Carl Hessler Jr. chessler@21st-cen­tu­ry­media. com @mont­co­court­news on Twit­ter

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.

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