January 17, 2013: The District Attorney’s Office has charged two people with filing false personal injury claims against SEPTA for an incident that occurred on March 30, 2011. 48-year-old Lannette White of the 1900 block of Tasker Street and 21-year-old Zahirah Gray of the 1500 block of S. Ringgold Street are both facing Insurance Fraud and Attempted Theft by Deception charges.
On March 30, 2011, SEPTA bus # 8045 was struck by a white van at approximately 2:02pm while stopped at 20th and Market Streets in Philadelphia. Both defendants later claimed they were seriously injured as a result of the incident. The bus is equipped with interior and exterior video surveillance cameras. SEPTA provided the video from the cameras to the assigned Insurance Fraud Unit detective, who reviewed it and confirmed that there had been no movements by the bus that would explain the claims of injury by the two defendants. In fact, the video revealed that there was no significant movement of any of the passengers aboard the bus at the time of the accident. In addition, the operator of the bus was not certain the bus had actually been struck until she checked for damage and noticed a scrape on the side of the bus. The bus was not taken out of service and was able to complete its route. Notwithstanding these facts, SEPTA received a claim on behalf of Zahira Gray that included $11,298.00 in medical bills for treatment of injuries to her right ankle and neck. SEPTA also received $12,770.00 in medical bills with respect to a claim made by Lanette White for injuries to her shoulders, neck and lower back.
Both defendants have turned themselves into the District Attorney’s Office and are being processed by police. Future court dates will be announced when the information is available. Detective Karl Supperer and ADA Dawn Farrell of the District Attorney’s Insurance Fraud Unit are specially assigned to this case.