TWO MEN CONSPIRE TO FILE FRAUDULENT THEFT CLAIM WITH JEWELERS MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY

February 12, 2016 by

Philadelphia – Detectives from the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office Insurance Fraud Unit arrested Cameron McCary and Anthony Foster for conspiring to file a fraudulent theft claim with Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company. On May 13, 2015, McCary contacted Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company and reported that his book bag, which contained sixteen pieces of jewelry valued at approximately fifty five thousand dollars, had been stolen from the SEPTA Route 47 bus where he was a passenger on May 12, 2015. McCary then filed a lost and found report with SEPTA and an insurance claim with Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company.

On May 12, 2015, McCary went to the SEPTA headquarters in Philadelphia and filed a report for stolen jewelry. During an interview with a SEPTA detective, McCary stated that he had been a passenger on the SEPTA Route 47 bus when his book bag containing his jewelry was stolen from the floor of the bus.  Insurance Fraud Unit detectives reviewed SEPTA surveillance footage from the Route 47 bus which shows McCary boarding the bus at the intersection of 6th Street and Erie Avenue in Philadelphia. The footage shows McCary sitting in an aisle seat facing the center of the bus and placing his book bag on the step to the right of his seat. At the next stop, a male in a gray hooded sweatshirt boards the bus and stands in the rear exit door near McCary’s seat. About five minutes after the male boards, he moves from the rear exit door to sit directly behind McCary. While changing his position, the male falls on to McCary who never reacts and continues to talk on his cell phone. Ten minutes after the male sits down, he gets off the bus at the intersection of 8th Street and Cecil B. Moore Avenue and takes McCary’s book bag with him. Detectives later interviewed the bus driver assigned to this route on the day of the alleged theft, and she stated that no one reported a book bag with jewelry missing to her on that date.

On May 13, 2015, McCary called Jewelers Mutual to report the alleged theft of his jewelry. During a later interview with a claims adjuster, McCary reported that he had been traveling with his jewelry on a SEPTA bus with the goal of depositing the pieces at a new safety deposit box at the TD Bank at 13th and Market Streets in Philadelphia. McCary related that sixteen out of his eighteen insured pieces of jewelry were missing. McCary denied having receipts for any of these purchases. McCary also told the adjuster that he usually stored his jewelry in a safety deposit box at the TD Bank in Cherry Hill, New Jersey; however, he had picked up his jewelry from TD Bank about six weeks prior to the theft on the bus and brought it to his apartment in Philadelphia.

Detectives reviewed McCary’s TD Bank safety deposit access records which contradicted McCary’s statement to Jewelers Mutual Insurance. The safety deposit access records indicated that McCary’s last visit to the deposit box was on February 28, 2014 and not six weeks prior to the date of the theft. When the Jewelers Mutual adjuster showed McCary a transcript of his first interview, he changed the date of his last visit to the safety deposit box to about a year prior to the date of the theft, which more closely matched his safety deposit access records.

McCary first obtained his policy with Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company on June 5, 2014 and McCary continued to add pieces of jewelry to his policy through March 2015. On his initial insurance application, McCary stated he kept the jewelry in a safety deposit box. However, McCary’s safety deposit access records indicate that he had not visited the deposit box since February 2014, and therefore, the jewelry had never actually been kept in the safety deposit as McCary alleged on his policy application.

At the conclusion of the investigation, detectives interviewed acquaintances of McCary who related that McCary had told them that he staged the theft of his jewelry in order to file a fraudulent insurance claim. The witnesses stated that McCary arranged for his roommate, Anthony Foster, to board the SEPTA bus and pretend to steal his book bag. The witnesses also said that McCary chose to stage this theft on a SEPTA bus because he knew the act would be recorded and this could help verify his claim to Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company.

Cameron McCary was arrested for Criminal Conspiracy, Attempted Theft by Deception, Insurance Fraud (F-3), Insurance Fraud (M-1) and False Reports on February 4, 2016. Anthony Foster was arrested for Criminal Conspiracy, Attempted Theft by Deception, Insurance Fraud and False Reports on January 22, 2016. Both are scheduled for status hearings in Philadelphia Municipal Court in the upcoming month.

 

 

 

PHILADELPHIA DISTRICT ATTORNEY ANNOUNCES ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGES TO HIS LEADERSHIP TEAM

February 11, 2016 by

PHILADELPHIA (Feb. 11, 2016) – Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams today, in an effort to continue to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of his Office, announced the following changes to the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office (DAO) leadership team.

“Good people in the right positions make for an effective Office and strong prosecutions. It’s part of my commitment to the people of Philadelphia that the 600 men and women of the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office will do everything we can to keep our city safe,” said Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams. “These organizational changes are a continuation of my ongoing effort to make this Office as impactful as it can be. Congratulations to these five Assistant District Attorney’s on their new positions and I thank them in advance for the good they and their teams will do.”

Ann Ponterio, Deputy of the Gun Trafficking, Public Nuisance Task Force and Community Engagement Division – ADA Ponterio began her career in the Office in 1984 and has spent the last 32-years of her career prosecuting cases starting in Municipal Court and continuing through Juvenile, Major Trials, Rape and the Homicide Units of the DAO. Ann has tried over 100 homicide and rape jury trials and was appointed Chief of the Homicide Unit in 2010. While Chief of the Homicide Unit, she supervised the Gosnell investigation and was appointed Deputy of Investigations in 2012.

Curtis Douglas, Deputy of the Investigations Division – Assistant District Attorney (ADA) Douglas began his career in 1980 as an IRS Special Agent investigating complicated, white collar crimes. He joined the DAO in 1990 as an ADA prosecuting rape, murder, aggravated assault, robbery and drug trafficking cases. He left the Office to spend ten years at the U.S. Attorney’s Office prosecuting Federal jury and bench trials. He returned to the Office in 2010 as the Deputy of the Investigations Division. Douglas was later appointed as the Deputy of the Gun Violence, Narcotics Trafficking and Community Engagement Division in 2013.

Brian Zarallo, Chief of Special Investigations – ADA Zarallo has been with the Office since September of 1997. After several years in the Major Trials Unit, Brian spent two years in the Investigations Division where he was cross-designated as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney prosecuting wire and bank fraud. Zarallo then worked in the Office’s Repeat Offenders Unit and was transferred in 2008 to the Homicide Unit where he served with distinction and was awarded the Roger King/Judy Rubino Award for Excellence in Homicide Prosecution in 2011. Zarallo was the Assistant Chief of the Homicide Unit in Nov. of 2012 until Jan. of 2016.

Yvonne J. Ruiz, Chief of the Insurance Fraud Unit – ADA Ruiz has more than 32-years of prosecutorial experience in the Office. Before being appointed as the Chief of the Insurance Fraud Unit, she had been assigned to the Investigations Division’s Economic and Cyber Crime unit since 2007 where she investigated and tried embezzlement cases. Previous to the Investigations Division, she was in the Trial Division, specializing in child homicide cases from 1994-2007. Yvonne has tried over 100 child abuse and homicide jury trials and was a supervisor in the Child Abuse Unit from 1992-94.

Harold “Rich” Bauer, Chief of the East Division – ADA Bauer has been with the Office since August of 2000. After being promoted through several trial units, Rich was transferred to the Repeat Offenders Unit in 2006 where he was assigned to East Division. In March of 2013, he was selected to serve as the Assistant Chief of the South Bureau. Later that year, he was selected to serve as the Chief of the Pretrial Unit and continued to run the Office’s Veterans Court program. In addition to his work in the DAO, Rich is a Major in the U.S. Army Reserve Judge Advocate General’s Corps. Through his work in the military, Rich has served as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney for both the Western District of Texas and the District of New Jersey.

The above staffing changes began to be implemented in the DAO last month and are effective immediately.

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KATHRYN KNOTT SENTENCED TO FIVE TO TEN MONTHS IN CENTER CITY ATTACK CASE

February 8, 2016 by

PHILADELPHIA (Feb. 8, 2016) – The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office announced that the Hon. Roxanne Covington today sentenced Kathryn Knott to serve five to ten months of incarceration followed by two years of reporting probation, in addition to paying $2000 in fines, for her role in the attack of a gay couple at 16th and Chancellor Sts. in Center City Philadelphia on Sept. 11, 2014.

On Dec. 18, 2015, Knott was found guilty by a jury of her peers of two counts of Recklessly Endangering Anther Person, Simple Assault and Conspiracy for Simple Assault; all misdemeanor crimes.

“This case is one of those cases that is not just important on its merits – the sentencing of Kathryn Knott for her role in the heinous attack of a gay couple in Center City Philadelphia – but it is important because it has forced us to think about race, gender, economic status, sexual orientation and what kind of city we want to live and work in,” said Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams. “I think we all want to raise our families in a city that respects everyone equally, and yes we have a long way to go to make that a reality, but I hope today’s sentencing takes us one step closer.”

This past October, Knott’s co-defendants pled guilty for their role in the attack. Kevin Harrigan pled guilty to one charge of Simple Assault and one charge of Conspiracy. He was sentenced to three years of reporting probation and had to pay $314 in restitution. Phillip Williams pled guilty to one charge of Aggravated Assault and one charge of Conspiracy. He was sentenced to five years of reporting probation and had to pay $628 in restitution. Harrigan and Williams also agreed to perform 200 hours of community service at a LGBTQ organization/cause and are prohibited from going into Center City Philadelphia for the duration of their probation.

Assistant District Attorney (ADA) Mike Barry, Chief of the Office’s Central Bureau and ADA Allison Ruth who is in the Office’s Homicide Unit prosecuted the Center City attack case.

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ATTORNEY ARRESTED FOR PAYING CIVILIANS TO FILE FRAUDULENT PERSONAL INJURY LAWSUITS

February 1, 2016 by

Philadelphia – Detectives from the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office Insurance Fraud Unit investigated attorney Stuart Doctorvitz for paying several co-conspirators to recruit individuals to file fraudulent personal injury lawsuits. Philadelphia DAO Insurance Fraud Unit detectives learned of this conspiracy through the arrest of Jerome Johnson, a defendant in the American Collision grand jury investigation. Detectives recovered Johnson’s 2004 Ford Expedition and cell phone in connection to his arrest. Johnson’s cell phone contained numerous pictures of defective sidewalks located through Philadelphia as well as pictures of addresses or street signs that connected each sidewalk to its individual location. Detectives also found pieces of note paper with addresses or intersections along with the word “spot” in Johnson’s 2004 Ford Expedition. Johnson also had business cards belonging to attorney Stuart Doctorvitz in his vehicle as well.

Text messages retrieved from Johnson’s cell phone established that Jerome Johnson and Stuart Doctorvitz conspired to recruit citizens to file fraudulent personal injury lawsuits. The recovered text messages between Johnson and Doctorvitz discuss good locations to stage slip and fall claims and criticize the caliber of Johnson’s client referrals. Pursuant to this investigation, detectives served a search warrant on the Law Offices of Stuart Doctorvitz and seized all questionable client files. As a result of the investigation, the following defendants were arrested for filing fraudulent injury lawsuits with the aid of Stuart Doctorvitz: Michael Boone, Derrel Moore, Jamal Ransom, Andre Montgomery, Robert Samuel, Rochelle Newell, Lisa DiCastando, Darya Golatt, Kevin Dabney and James Hendricks. Descriptions of each individual’s fictitious claim is included below.

On September 15, 2015, Michael Boone was arrested for Theft by Deception, Criminal Conspiracy, Insurance Fraud and False Swearing in connection to a fraudulent slip and fall claim he filed with the assistance of Stuart Doctorvitz.  Boone claimed that he tripped and fell on a defective sidewalk in front of Little Starz Learning Center on 5429 Larchwood Street in Philadelphia on October 11, 2012. Doctorvitz filed a lawsuit against the business on behalf of Boone and requested fifty thousand dollars for Boone’s injuries. During the course of the investigation, Insurance Fraud Unit detectives approached Boone about his injury claim. He stated that Jerome Johnson asked him if he wanted to make money from filing a fictitious lawsuit. Boone stated that he then met with Doctorvitz who coached him on the nature of his claim.

On September 8, 2015, Moore was arrested for Theft by Deception, Criminal Conspiracy, Insurance Fraud and False Swearing in connection to a fraudulent personal injury claim which he filed with the assistance of Stuart Doctorvitz. Moore alleged that on September 28, 2012, he tripped on a defective sidewalk out front of Fresh Donuts located at 5944 Market Street in Philadelphia. Moore retained Doctorvitz who filed suit against Affirmative Risk Management which insures Fresh Donuts. At one point during litigation, Doctorvitz threatened to sue Affirmative Risk Management for bad faith if they refused to settle this claim. When approached by Insurance Fraud Unit detectives, Moore stated that Jerome Johnson had suggested he file a fraudulent personal injury lawsuit. Johnson brought Moore to Doctorvitz’s office and instructed him to say that he fell in front of the Fresh Donuts. Moore stated that he did not receive any settlement money from this case.

On September 11, 2015, Jamal Ransom was arrested for Theft by Deception, Criminal Conspiracy, Insurance Fraud and False Swearing in connection to a staged personal injury lawsuit he filed with assistance of Stuart Doctorvitz. Ransom alleged that on December 9, 2012, he tripped on a defective sidewalk in front of Ken Crest Centers located at 5900 Elmwood Avenue in Philadelphia. Ransom stated that he was walking on Elmwood Avenue towards 60th Street when he tripped on a sidewalk that had been raised by a tree root. When approached by Insurance Fraud Unit detectives, Ransom stated that Johnson had suggested he file a fraudulent personal injury lawsuit in order that he could make some extra money. Ransom said that Johnson took him to Doctorvitz’s law office, and after Johnson and Doctorvitz privately conferred with one another, Doctorvitz proceeded to question Ransom. Doctorvitz’s file indicates that he settled this claim with Philadelphia Insurance Company for fourteen thousand four hundred dollars. Ransom stated that he received one thousand dollars for his participation.

On September 15, 2015, Andre Montgomery was arrested for Theft by Deception, Criminal Conspiracy, Insurance Fraud and False Swearing in connection to a fraudulent personal injury case that he filed with the assistance of Stuart Doctorvitz. Montgomery alleged that on February 27, 2012 he slipped and fell as he was walking on the 300 block of S. 13th Street. When he was approached by Insurance Fraud Unit detectives, Montgomery stated that he is personally acquainted with Jerome Johnson and that Johnson had asked him to file a fraudulent personal injury lawsuit. Montgomery said that Johnson told him to go to the emergency room and report he was injured. After Montgomery went to the hospital, Johnson took him to meet with Doctorvitz who then filed suit against North American Capacity Insurance Company.

On September 10, 2015, Samuel was arrested for Theft by Deception, Criminal Conspiracy, Insurance Fraud, False Swearing and False Reports in connection to a fraudulent injury claim that he filed with the assistance of Stuart Doctorvitz. Samuel alleged that on August 29, 2013, he had an accident at the intersection of 65th Street and Cobbs Creek Parkway. Samuel stated that he was traveling on Cobbs Creek Parkway and attempting to make a left-hand turn when the car behind him also attempted to turn and consequently struck Samuel’s passenger side front wheel-well. Samuel claimed that the other driver failed to stop. When Insurance Fraud Unit detectives approached Samuel he stated that he was not actually involved in an accident on August 29, 2013, but rather Johnson had arranged for someone to damage his 2006 Dodge in order that Samuel could file an injury claim with Stuart Doctorvitz. Following Johnson’s instructions, Samuel filed a claim with both the Philadelphia Police and Allstate Insurance Company even though no real accident occurred.

On September 9, 2015, Rochelle Newell was arrested for two counts of Theft by Deception, two counts of Criminal Conspiracy, two counts of Insurance Fraud and two counts of False Swearing in connection to two fraudulent personal injury claims which she filed with the assistance of Stuart Doctorvitz. In the first claim, Newell alleged that she fell in front of 504 N. 63rd Street on June 29, 2009 after she tripped over a defective sidewalk. In the second claim, Newell alleged that she fell in front of 1804 Bainbridge Street after she tripped over a raised sidewalk. When approached by Insurance Fraud Unit detectives, Newell stated that Johnson had set up both of these fraudulent claims and that she had never been to either location. Stuart Doctorvitz settled the first claim with Harleysville Insurance Company for thirty one thousand and five hundred dollars and he settled the second claim with American Family Home Insurance Company for fifteen thousand dollars. Newell stated that she received one thousand dollars for her participation in the 2009 claim but that she did not receive any money for her participating in the 2012 claim.

Lisa DiCastando, Darya Golatt and Kevin Dabney were all arrested in mid-September 2015 for charges including Theft by Deception, Criminal Conspiracy, Insurance Fraud and False Reports. DiCastando, Golatt and Dabney all falsely claimed to have been involved in an auto accident with a deer. DiCastando claimed that she was driving her vehicle on Fort Mifflin Road on April 15, 2011 when a deer ran in front of her car and caused her to lose control and strike a guardrail. Golatt and Dabney claimed that they were passengers in DiCastando’s car during this accident. All three then retained Stuart Doctorvitz as their personal injury attorney and filed claims with Nationwide Insurance Company. When approached by Insurance Fraud Unit detectives, DiCastando stated that she told her cousin, Jerome Johnson, of her car troubles and he said he could have her vehicle fixed if she made an accident claim and filed a police report. DiCastando said she was told to report that she had struck a deer and that she had two passengers with her at the time of the accident. However, DiCastando did not meet these passengers (Golatt and Dabney) until Johnson brought her to Doctorvitz’s office. Golatt and Dabney were also recruited by Johnson to be part of this fraudulent accident claim. Nationwide paid sixty-six thousand four hundred and ninety-seven dollars in settling the claims filed by DiCastando, Golatt and Dabney.

On September 3, 2015, James Hendricks was arrested for Theft by Deception, Criminal Conspiracy, Insurance Fraud and False Swearing in connection to a fraudulent personal injury claim which he filed with the assistance of Stuart Doctorvitz. James Hendricks alleged that on December 5, 2012, he fell when he tripped over raised concrete on the 900 block of Pine Street in Philadelphia. When approached by Insurance Fraud Unit detectives, Hendricks stated that he was approached by Ernie Shaw, a different recruiter paid by Doctorvitz, who asked him if he wanted to file a fraudulent injury claim for money. Shaw took him to see Stuart Doctorvitz who filed a claim with York Insurance Company, which insured 910 Pine Street. York Insurance Company later settled this claim for thirty thousand dollars and Hendricks stated he received approximately five thousand for his participation.

Stuart Doctorvitz was arrested on January 20, 2016 for knowingly filing fraudulent personal injury lawsuits for accidents which never occurred. He was charged with Theft by Deception, Attempted Theft by Deception, Criminal Conspiracy, Insurance Fraud, Unsworn Falsifying, False Swearing and False Reports. He is next scheduled to appear in Philadelphia Municipal Court on February 9, 2016 for a status hearing.

 

 

WOMAN REGISTERS 2007 MERCURY WITH A FRAUDULENT AMERICAN INDEPENDENT FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY IDENTIFICATION CARD

February 1, 2016 by

Philadelphia – Detectives from the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office Insurance Fraud Unit investigated Felicia Glenn after receiving a referral from Omni Insurance Company, the parent company of American Independent. The referral alleged that Glenn had registered her 2007 Mercury with a fraudulent American Independent financial responsibility identification card.

Insurance Fraud Unit detectives retrieved Glenn’s PennDOT title history which showed that Glenn had registered her 2007 Mercury with an American Independent financial responsibility identification card in 2014.  Detectives then contacted the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and confirmed that Glenn is the registered owner of the 2007 Mercury. Detectives also spoke with a representative from American Independent who stated that neither they nor their related companies insure Glenn or her 2007 Mercury. Glenn was arrested on January 22, 2016 for Forgery and Insurance Fraud. She is next scheduled in Philadelphia Municipal Court for a status hearing on February 12, 2016.

Letter to the Editor Responding to DA Settles Lawsuit (01/26/16)

January 27, 2016 by

I want to set the record straight about the Daily News’ 01/26/16 story entitled DA Settles Lawsuit. In the story, the reporter failed to mention two things. First, that he was the reporter who received the leaked information in 2011 from the individual profiled and failed to disclose that in his article. Second, that the individual who was not fired was treated differently because he was honest, remorseful and admitted that he conspired with the profiled employee to improperly share expungement information that could harm another assistant district attorney. I am proud of my record, my decisions and the way I have run the District Attorney’s Office.

When I chose to prosecute Dr. Kermit Gosnell, people thought I did it for political reasons. I did not, I did it because he was committing horrific crimes.

When I chose to charge Monsignor William Lynn with shielding pedophile priests, people thought I did it because I was anti-Catholic; that is outrageous. I did it because priests who rape and victimize young boys should not be hidden.

When I chose to prosecute six African-American Philadelphia elected officials – men and women – who were taking bribes for political favors, people thought I did it because I was against African-American elected officials. I chose to proceed with the case because what they did was illegal.

When I chose to stand up for and support a young African-American Assistant District Attorney, some thought I was wrong, but now that young lawyer has made a great success of himself in our legal community.

When I prosecuted a police lieutenant for punching a Hispanic woman at a parade, I was not anti-police or pro-Hispanic, I was just doing my job.

When I reorganize my office and put women at the top of my organizational chart, I’m not anti-male.

When I did to not fire career prosecutors who participated in the exchange of offensive emails at a previous job, people said I’m anti-black, anti-women, anti-gay and pro-white; which couldn’t be farther from the truth.

When I choose to discipline employees – men and women, black and white – to differing degrees; I’m not pro- or anti-anything, I’m attempting to be fair and not discriminatory.

And when the Philadelphia Daily News says that I’m pro-black, anti-woman and someone who regularly uses discriminatory practices to run my office, I can’t help but be disappointed.

I want to make this clear; I treat everyone in my office equally and make decisions based on the merits and facts at my disposal. My number one job is to keep all Philadelphians, regardless of gender, race, age or political affiliation, safe from crime, fraud and corruption and I take that role seriously.

 

Seth Williams, Philadelphia District Attorney

http://mobile.philly.com/beta?wss=/philly/opinion&id=366728761

CORRECTIONS OFFICER CHARGED WITH FILING FALSE REPORTS SURRENDERS TO AUTHORITIES

January 26, 2016 by

PHILADELPHIA (Jan. 26, 2016) – Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams announced that Corrections Officer Yolanda Grier turned herself in today after being charged with Tampering with Public Records [F3], False Reports to Law Enforcement Authorities [M2], Unsworn Falsification to Authorities [M2], Obstructing Administration of Law or Other Governmental Function [M2], Official Oppression [M2] and Harassment [S].

“What Yolanda Grier did, making up an incident and then allowing an innocent inmate to be falsely charged, is outrageous and a complete failure of her duties and the oath she took to serve the Philadelphia Prison System and the citizens of our City,” said District Attorney Seth Williams. “I’d like to thank our partners in the Philadelphia Prison System for helping us with this investigation and today’s arrest.”

Grier alleged that she was threatened by a female inmate at the Riverside Correctional Facility on October 7, 2014. In her statement to the police, Grier alleged that the inmate responded to her request to turn over the pass she was using to see a visitor with cursing, screaming and threats to shoot Grier. Based on Grier’s statement, detectives obtained an arrest warrant for the inmate and arrested and charged her with one count of Terroristic Threats.

In actuality; after the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office (DAO), Special Investigations Unit reviewed surveillance video from the incident; Grier’s description of the incident turned out to be false. The video shows that the inmate quickly produced her pass and Grier, after taking it from the inmate, taunted the inmate by pretending to give and take back the pass multiple times. Eventually, Greir escalated her harassment of the inmate by pulling out her mace despite the lack of any threatening behavior by the inmate. In addition to filing charges against Corrections Officer Grier, the criminal case against the inmate has been withdrawn.

Yolanda Grier (date of birth: March 28, 1964) was hired by the Philadelphia Department of Corrections in 1993 and has worked at the Riverside Correctional Facility since 2009. Grier is no longer employed as a Philadelphia Corrections Officer due to her arrest.

MAN FILES FRAUDULENT PERSONAL INJURY CLAIM AGAINST SEPTA AND PROGRESSIVE INSURANCE COMPANY

January 22, 2016 by

Charges:              Insurance Fraud 18 Pa C.S. § 4117 – F3 (2 counts)

Attempted Theft by Deception 18 Pa C.S. § 3922 – F3

Theft by Deception 18 Pa C.S. § 3922 – M1

Philadelphia – Detectives from the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office Insurance Fraud Unit investigated Jean Oplan after receiving a referral from SEPTA. On July 19, 2014, Oplan was a passenger on the SEPTA Route 47 bus when the bus brushed against a Progressive insured Dodge Durango. As a result of the contact, the SEPTA bus broke the side view mirror of the Dodge Durango and the bus itself was scratched. Despite the lack of substantial damages, Oplan filled out a SEPTA claim form in which he stated that he injured his back, neck and arm as a result of this accident. Oplan retained a personal injury attorney to represent him in the lawsuit against SEPTA and Progressive Insurance Company.

Although Oplan did not seek emergency medical treatment immediately after the accident, he did later seek chiropractic treatment from Olney Orthopedic and Therapy. Medical records indicate that Oplan sought treatment at this facility on fifty-three separate occasions between July and December of 2014. The total cost of Oplan’s medical bills exceeded fifteen thousand dollars and were submitted to both SEPTA and Progressive. In response to Oplan’s claim, Progressive paid in excess of sixteen hundred and forty-two dollars towards Oplan’s medical bills.

The SEPTA Route 47 bus is equipped with a digital surveillance system which shows that the bus made slight contact with the parked Dodge Durango while traveling on N. 5th Street. The video shows the SEPTA bus damaging the side mirror of the Dodge Durango and then coming to a stop. The surveillance footage also shows that Oplan remains seated throughout this incident and none of the passengers on the bus appear to be disturbed or injured. Oplan was arrested for filing an allegedly fraudulent personal injury claim against SEPTA. Oplan was charged with two counts of Insurance Fraud, one count of Attempted Theft by Deception (F-3) and one count of Theft by Deception (M-1). He is next scheduled to appear in Philadelphia Municipal Court on January 26, 2016 for a hearing.

PHILADELPHIA DISTRICT ATTORNEY LAUNCHES NEW WAY TO DISPOSE OF PRESCRIPTION DRUGS

January 20, 2016 by

Drug return boxes are safe, secure and will help prevent prescription drug and heroin abuse

PHILADELPHIA (Jan. 20, 2016) – Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams today launched a pilot program in six Philadelphia Police Districts so anyone can safely and anonymously dispose of unwanted prescription drugs. In addition to a public safety issue, unwanted and unused prescription medications are a public health risk because prescription drug abuse often leads to opiate and heroin abuse.

“Overdoses don’t discriminate based on race, gender or economic status. Prescription drug, opioid and heroin abuse have created victims in all walks of life in our City and throughout our Nation. In fact, the crisis was one of the very first points President Obama mentioned in his recent State of the Union Address,” said District Attorney Seth Williams. “I thank all of the partners who are here today and I know all of us are looking forward to bringing drop boxes to every Police District in the City so we can reduce the availability of unwanted prescription drugs and slow the spread of heroin abuse in Philadelphia.”

Philadelphia has the highest rate of drug overdoses in Pennsylvania, nearly 42 people per 100,000. There were more than 650 overdose deaths in Philadelphia in 2014 and approximately 370 of those who overdosed had prescription opioids in their system. Heroin was found in the system of more than half of those who overdosed.

“The Philadelphia Police Department is happy to take part in this pilot program, which will provide a safe alternative for disposing of unwanted or expired prescription medications as opposed to them being left in a place where they can fall into the wrong hands,” added Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross.

“We need to get the word out about the potency of today’s prescription drugs. Too many families have learned the hard way the dangers of not properly securing or disposing of powerful medications,” Council President Clarke said. “I encourage all Philadelphians to audit your medicine cabinets and take advantage of this disposal program – especially if you have kids in the house, or have been touched by drug addiction. And I thank District Attorney Williams and Police Commissioner Ross for their leadership on this critical public health and safety issue.”

The pilot program is beginning with boxes in the 1st, 15th, 19th, 22nd, 25th and 35th; and once concluded and evaluated, it will be expanded into every Police District throughout the City.

“We know, The United States of America, accounts for 5 percent of the world’s population, yet we consume 75 percent of prescription drugs in the world. Another fact I find very troubling is that one in five teens have abused prescription medications. In 2010, I introduced a resolution to explore the creation of a drug take back program in Philadelphia. My staff and I commend District Attorney Seth Williams and his team, the Philadelphia Police Department, Bernie Strain and all partners who worked tirelessly to craft a process for citizens to safely dispose of prescription drugs in the City of Philadelphia,” said Councilwoman At-Large Blondell Reynolds Brown.

The Philadelphia Police Department (PPD) will house the boxes and Philadelphia District Attorney (DAO) County Detectives will collect the medications and transport them to Covanta, which is located in Conshohocken, where they will be burned at no cost. The boxes were made available to the DAO through a grant from the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association, the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs and the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.

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CAMPBELL AND BENSCHOP SENTENCED IN SALVATION ARMY BUILDING COLLAPSE CASE

January 8, 2016 by

 

PHILADELPHIA (Jan. 8, 2016) – The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office (DAO) today announced that Griffin Campbell was sentenced to 15 – 30 years in prison and Sean Benshop was sentenced to

7 1/2 -15 years in prison for the death of six people, and injury to others, in the June 5, 2013, Market St. Salvation Army Building collapse. Campbell’s and Benshop’s sentence reflects the nature of their crimes and the suffering of the victims. We now know justice has been served.

“I cannot even begin to imagine the pain and grief Mr. Campbell and Mr. Benshop caused the friends and families of those who lost their lives, and those who were injured, when the Market Street Salvation Army Building was crushed by a four-story, unsupported masonry wall in June of 2013,” said Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams. “The Assistant District Attorneys who prosecuted this case and me hope that today’s sentences make clear the need for safe demolitions in our city and, most importantly, it helps to bring closure to the victims’ loved ones who are still dealing with this tragedy.”

In October of 2015, Griffin Campbell was found guilty by a jury of his peers of six counts of Involuntary Manslaughter, 13 counts of Recklessly Endangering Another Person, one count of Causing a Catastrophe and one count of Aggravated Assault. Campbell was responsible for the demolition of the property that was located at 2140 Market St. In addition to overseeing the day-to-day operations at the site, Campbell put in place a demolition plan that left a four-story masonry wall unsupported above the Salvation Army Building.

In July of 2015, Sean Benschop plead guilty to six counts of Involuntary Manslaughter and the additional charges of Aggravated Assault, Conspiracy, Causing a Catastrophe and thirteen Counts of Reckless Endangerment. Benschop was the operator of an excavator that was used to demolish the building next to the Salvation Army building when it collapsed killing Juanita Harmon, Roseline Conteh, Mary Simpson, Kimberly Finnegan, Anne Bryan and Borbor Davis. Mariya Plekan suffered serious and permanent injury.

Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Selber who is the Chief of the DAO’s Homicide Unit and Edward Cameron who is the Assistant Chief of the DAO’s Homicide Unit prosecuted the collapse cases.


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