Body Shop and Owner Both Charged With Enhancing Car Damages and Fraudulent Insurance Claims

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September 11, 2013:  The Philadelphia District Attorneys Insurance Fraud Unit (IFU) has charged 42 year old Darryl Sewell and PSK Auto Body with Forgery, Insurance Fraud, Theft by Deception and Conspiracy.   

Detectives from the IFU began to investigate Darryl Sewell and his body shop, PSK Auto Body, after receiving a referral from Travelers Insurance Company. Travelers alleged that Sewell had been misappropriating claim checks and enhancing damages to vehicles taken to PSK Auto Body for repairs.

 In August of 2011, a Travelers insured was involved in an accident which caused some minor damage to the hood and front bumper of her 2004 Honda Accord. Travelers appraised the damages and issued a check for over forty-three hundred dollars. At the suggestion of a friend, the insured took her vehicle to PSK Auto Body to be repaired by Darryl Sewell. After the repairs were completed, the insured was dissatisfied with Sewell’s work and contacted the insurance company. Travelers provided their insured which pictures of the damages taken by their appraiser at the time of the initial estimate. The insured noted discrepancies between the appraiser’s photos and her own, which were taken at the scene of the accident and showed much less damage.

In addition to allegedly enhancing damages, the appraiser assigned to do a re-estimate of the damages noted that many parts that Travelers had paid for to be replaced were instead repaired. Travelers had paid for original Honda parts to be used in the repairs, but aftermarket parts, a cheaper substitution, were used instead. The Honda also still had a damaged right fender. In addition to misappropriating the claim check, Sewell also allegedly forged the insured’s name on the check.

 In September of 2011, another Travelers insured reported that his 2011 Ford Escape had been vandalized outside of his place of work. The insured took his Ford to PSK Auto Body to be repaired. A Travelers appraiser estimated that the repairs would cost over eight thousand dollars and issued a check in that amount to their insured. In December of 2011, Travelers insured notified the company that the repairs to his vehicle still had not been completed. Travelers informed their insured that PSK Auto Body had already cashed the claim check which their insured denied ever seeing or signing. An appraiser again went to PSK Auto Body and observed that none of the initial repairs Travelers ordered had been completed. PSK Auto Body was supposed to replace four doors, two fenders, the hood, headlights and a windshield on the Ford Escape. PSK Auto Body ignored these directions and instead made poor attempts to repair parts or replace the parts with less expensive aftermarket parts.

 After conducting interviews and reviewing claim information from Travelers Insurance Company, detectives determined that Darryl Sewell and his shop, PSK Auto Body, allegedly enhanced damages and substituted inferior parts during repairs without authorization. Sewell allegedly misappropriated over thirteen thousand dollars issued in claim checks by Travelers Insurance. Sewell and PSK Auto Body were both arrested on September 9, 2013 for Criminal Conspiracy, Theft by Deception, Forgery and Insurance Fraud. They are next listed to appear in Philadelphia Municipal Court on September 16, 2013 for a status listing.

ADA Linda Montag and Detective Robert DiFrancesco are specially assigned to this case.

 

 


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