February 26, 2010: Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams and David Augenbraun, Chief of the Insurance Fraud Unit, announce the guilty plea and sentencing of Wallace “Pops” Morris, Sr. Morris, whose last address, was the 5700 block of Hatfield Street, Philadelphia, was convicted of running a multi-tiered auto accident scheme that defrauded approximately 17 different insurance companies out of over $1 million dollars.
His sentencing is scheduled for Friday, February 26, 2010 at 11:30AM before the Honorable Rose Marie Defino-Nastasi. Wallace Morris was the lead organizer of a criminal conspiracy with Former Philadelphia Police Officer Deshane Riggins, Robert Clement and Robert Smith. Together they created fictitious auto accidents supported by “fake” police reports to claim personal injury losses in excess of $1 million dollars. Detective Alfredo Quintile of the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office along with other detectives from the DA’s Insurance Fraud Unit, the National Insurance Crime Bureau and the investigative divisions of all insurance companies defrauded are credited with the successful investigation of this case. ADA Linda Montag took over the prosecution of this case from ADA Bill Fisher when he retired in 2009.
Here is a quick timeline of how the DA’s case against Morris unfolded. On May 22, 2008, the District Attorney’s Office announced the arrest of Wallace “Pops” or “Popsicle” Morris, Sr. for over 200 counts of Insurance Fraud, Theft by Deception and related charges. On December 18, 2009, Morris, represented by attorney Daine Grey, Esq. pled guilty to 44 counts of Insurance Fraud, 43 counts of Theft by Deception, 1 count each of Bribery, Perjury and Conspiracy. Last week, on February 18, 2010, Wallace Morris was federally indicted for 17 counts of mail fraud. In that case, Morris is accused of being involved in another insurance fraud pyramid involving former Philadelphia Police Officer Drexel Reid, Dr. Stephen Rios, Attorney Glori Kasner and body shop owners and workers. The paid out claim loss in that case is calculated to be over a $1 million dollars.
On January 30, 2008, the District Attorney’s Office announced the arrest of Philadelphia Police Officer Deshane Riggins, by detectives assigned to the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Insurance Fraud Unit. On May 5, 2008, Officer Riggins entered a guilty plea to 19 counts of Insurance Fraud and all related charges. Sentencing is pending in that case.
With the cooperation of Officer Riggins and others, our investigators were able to establish Morris’ involvement. They discovered that from 2004 through 2006, Morris, in concert with 268 friends, family and associates, defrauded insurance companies on 45 fictitious auto accident reports and 187 fraudulent insurance claims filed for non-existent injuries.
Morris has admitted to staging dozens of fake accidents occurring in Philadelphia by enlisting the cooperation of his friends and associates who would then claim bodily injury based on the fake accident. Morris was able to secure fraudulent police reports prepared by Officer Riggins, which were necessary to support the fraudulent insurance claims. After the “fake” police reports were made, Morris then introduced the claimants to doctors and lawyers. In most cases, the “claimants” pursued quick cash settlements. Each accident was set up to include 2 vehicles, each with 1 driver and 2 passengers for a total of 6 “claimants” per “accident”. The majority of these phony claims were submitted to major insurance companies doing business in Pennsylvania such as AIG, Allstate, American Independent, Cambridge, Erie, GEICO, Liberty Mutual, Nationwide, Progressive, and State Farm.
To date over 95 people have been arrested, 72 have agreed to cooperate with the government, many of whom identified Morris as the alleged organizer and 23 cases are open. Future arrests are pending.