October 3, 2012: Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams has charged nine people with Insurance Fraud and Attempted Theft by Deception. All nine defendants are accused of faking injuries on a Sugarhouse Casino trolley in May 2012. The charges are the result of a lengthy investigation by the District Attorney’s Office Insurance Fraud Unit (IFU) of an incident involving a Sugarhouse Casino customer shuttle, (a.k.a trolley-bus) that grazed mirrors with a stopped Septa bus at 7th and Market Streets on May 7, 2012.
The trolley-bus, which is equipped with video and audio surveillance cameras, had twenty six passengers at the time of the incident. The surveillance video revealed that none of the passengers made any sudden movements caused by the grazing of the mirrors. In fact, when the driver of the trolley-bus stepped outside to investigate, several passengers can be heard laughing and talking about the casino’s “deep pockets.” The contact between the mirrors on the two vehicles was so insignificant that the trolley-bus mirror did not sustain any damage as a result of this incident.
Notwithstanding these facts, nine passengers; 54-year-old Wanda Bouie of Ella Street in Philadelphia, 49-year-old Richard Coleman of Winton Street, 54-year-old Vanessa Foreman of Hemberger Street, 68-year-old Gwendolyn Freeman of Moore Street, 66-year-old Martha Holman of 32nd Street, 49-year-old Christina Pullo of 10th Street, 30-year-old George Senick, Jr. of 2nd Street, 63-year-old Marion Alston of Porter Street, and 53-year-old Kimberly Welton of Winton Street all filed personal injury claims against the trolley-bus company. They all alleged serious, even “traumatic” bodily injuries as a result of the accident and they also sought medical treatment for their “injuries” claiming to be in “severe pain” from the accident.
All nine defendants turned themselves into the District Attorney’s Office and have been arraigned. This investigation was headed by Detective Alfredo Quintile of the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office. Assistant District Attorney Irina Ehrlich is specially assigned to prosecute these cases.
Insurance Fraud and Attempted Theft by Deception are both felonies of the third degree, punishable by up to seven years in prison and/or a fine of $15,000.