August 15, 2013: The District Attorney’s Office has charged 57 year old Clyde Powell Attempted Theft by Deception, Theft by Deception, and Insurance Fraud.
Detectives from the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office Insurance Fraud Unit (IFU) began to investigate defendant Clyde Powell after receiving a referral from SEPTA regarding an allegedly fraudulent personal injury claim. On October 25, 2010, a SEPTA Route G bus was stopped at a traffic light on 57th Street when a 1986 GMC pickup truck, which was being pulled by another vehicle, made a turn from Upland Way onto 57th Street. During this turn, the left front bumper of the pickup truck made contact with the left front bumper of the Route G bus.
Although he later described the impact as hardly noticeable, the driver of the Route G bus prepared an accident report as SEPTA protocol requires. The driver wrote that the bus suffered some scuff marks on the bumper and a dent above the bumper. Following the impact, the driver also checked the rear interior of his bus and determined that all passengers appeared undisturbed. A SEPTA representative was later directed to examine the exterior of the bus and he reported that he found no damage. Photographs from this examination were included in SEPTA’s claim file and they too reveal no damages to the exterior of the bus. The GMC truck, which was insured by Progressive Insurance Company, also sustained no damages.
Digital surveillance footage from inside of the vehicle reveals that there was a slight vibration inside of the bus; however, none of the six passengers appeared to be initially disturbed, including Clyde Powell who was sitting in the rear of the bus facing forward. Yet approximately twenty seconds after the bus and truck made contact, one passenger rose from his seat and intentionally laid himself down on the ground. Surrounding passengers are seen laughing at this male. Powell then rose from his seat and sat near where the man was lying on the ground. The two converse for about twenty-five minutes until the fire department came and paramedics took both men to Lankanau Hospital.
According to records from Lankanau Hospital, Powell arrived at the hospital shortly after ten o’clock on the date of the incident. He alleged back pain and described the pain as a seven on a scale of one to ten. However, the pain subsided enough in the fifty minutes he was receiving treatment that upon leaving, Powell alleged he was pain-free. Despite this assessment, Powell later decided to seek physical therapy for injuries to his neck, upper back, shoulder, low back, buttocks and legs. Powell went to a chiropractor one hundred and twenty-one times between October 2010 and June of 2011. Powell retained counsel to represent him in a personal injury claim and counsel presented the following to SEPTA and Progressive: nine thousand dollars worth of medical bills, a three thousand dollar bill for an MRI and a nine hundred dollar bill for the emergency ambulance services he received on the date of the incident. Powell’s counsel sought an additional fifty thousand dollars from SEPTA and Progressive for pain, suffering and permanent personal injuries which allegedly resulted from this incident.
Although two men initially claimed to be injured, only Clyde Powell sought additional medical treatment and retained counsel. After reviewing surveillance footage and conducting interviews, detectives then arrested Clyde Powell on August 14, 2013 for Insurance Fraud, Theft by Deception and Attempted Theft by Deception. He is next scheduled to appear in Philadelphia Municipal Court on August 21, 2013 for a status listing. ADA John Doyle and Detective Donald Murtha are specially assigned to this case.