Philadelphia–A joint investigation by the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Insurance Fraud Unit, the United States Attorney’s Office and the Health-Care Squad of the FBI, has resulted in the successful infiltration of an alleged auto accident ring. The members of this ring are charged with staging automobile accidents that were responsible for over $1,000,000 in fraudulent insurance claims. Lead by Detective Robert Di Franceso of the DA’s Office, and Special Agent Brian Pacchioli of the FBI, the investigation has resulted in 58 county arrests and 2 federal indictments involving approximately 19 people. And more local arrests and federal indictments are still to come.
At the top of the alleged fraud pyramid were collision shop workers and owners. J.R. Auto Body shop owner Rosario Tedesco and Dan Cupauiolo, the shop manager, are accused of causing damage or staging accidents; and also of enhancing those damages. The shops tow truck driver’s , Jerry Blassengale, Viken Yeretzian, Michael O’Connell, Christopher Rosales, Reynaldo Rivera, and Philadelphia police officer Drexel Reid are accused of fabricating police reports to support the claims. Along with many other willing “accident” participants, attorney Glori Kasner and Dr. Stephen Rios are accused of filing the fraudulent claims with insurance companies.
During the four year investigation, it was determined that passengers, sometimes never even present at the scene of the accident, would report a hit and run that did not occur or a co-conspirator would “enhance” damage to a “staged” accident or vandalism. This would be supported by a fake police report. Subsequently, parties would then go to an attorney and get referred to a doctor, and receive treatment for their alleged injuries. The attorneys and doctors received referrals repeatedly from the same person, for the same type of accident that was supported by the same police officer’s report. Often false names were simply added to legitimate insurance claims. Monies were paid out and everyone received their share of the insurance checks.
This investigation began with ADA Bill Fisher, ADA Sybil Murphy and AUSA Mary Futcher. Later, AUSA Anthony Wzorek was assigned and when ADA Fisher retired in 2009, along side ADA Linda Montag.