May 17, 2013: The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office has charged 46-year-old Sai Min Wang with Insurance Fraud, Attempted Theft by Deception, and Theft by Deception charges for a fraudulent insurance claim. On April 23, 2011, the SEPTA Route 42 bus was stopped at a red light at 34th Street and Civic Center Boulevard. When the light changed, the bus began to move forward as a taxi cab next to the bus opened its door. The door made minor contact with the right rear panel of the SEPTA bus. The bus suffered a scratch on the wheel well and the taxi suffered damage to the rear door. There were seven passengers on the bus; however, no injuries were reported. Neither the police nor paramedics responded to the scene. Detectives also checked for claims with the company that insured the cab and learned that their driver filed no claim for damages occurring during this incident.
Sai Min Wang, was a passenger on the Route 42 bus at the time of the incident. Despite the lack of injuries reported, on May 5, 2011 Wang went to the hospital and sought treatment for injuries she claimed she had sustained two weeks prior while on the SEPTA Route 42 bus. Wang reported that she hit her head on the seat in front of her and was suffering from headaches and blurred vision. After seeking treatment at the hospital, Wang began to see a chiropractor who she visited on twenty-eight separate occasions between May 5, 2011 and July 30, 2011.
Wang retained counsel to represent her in a personal injury claim against SEPTA. On May 16, 2011, Wang’s attorney contacted SEPTA and notified them that Wang had been a passenger on the Route 42 bus at the time of the incident and had suffered injuries to her head and neck. Detectives executed a search and seizure warrant at the attorney’s office and recovered the file for Wang’s personal injury claim. According to notes in the file, Wang allegedly told the attorney that she believed that the bus crashed into a taxi cab while she was sleeping. Wang further stated to the attorney that she hit her head on an iron bar and was suffering from headaches and sleeplessness as a result of her injury.
In addition to filing a personal injury claim against SEPTA, in July of 2011, Wang’s attorney also filed an injury claim with Wang’s husband’s auto insurance company, Progressive, for the costs of Wang’s medical bills. The attorney submitted an application for benefits, which stated that Wang had been a passenger on a SEPTA bus when she allegedly struck her head on a pole and was suffering from neck pain and dizziness. Progressive paid over $2,800 dollars for medical bills in connection with Wang’s claim.
The SEPTA Route 42 bus is equipped with video surveillance that showed the seven passengers at the time of the incident. The surveillance video indicates that the bus was stopped at a red light, began to move forward and then stopped. The taxi driver then moved his vehicle closer to the curb. The video shows that none of the seven passengers appear to be disturbed at the time of the incident. Furthermore, Wang is seen facing forward and talking on her cell phone when the taxi makes minor contact with the bus. Wang never hits her head on a seat, pole or metal bar and continues her phone conversation for approximately three minutes. The video evidence contradicts Wang’s account of the incident and her claims against both SEPTA and Progressive.
Wang was arrested on May 15, 2013, and is next scheduled to appear in Philadelphia Municipal Court on May 24, 2013.