Philadelphia Man Charged with Setting Vehicle on Fire and Filing False Insurance Claim

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July 31, 2014: Philadelphia Insurance Fraud Unit (IFU) detectives began to investigate 42 year old Marc Smith after receiving a referral from Erie Insurance Company. On February 17, 2014, Philadelphia Police Department officers responded to the 8600 block of Krewstown Road where they found a 2009 Ford F-150 pick-up truck with smoke coming from the inside of the vehicle. The vehicle was then towed to the Philadelphia Auto Squad Headquarters and detectives contacted Marc Smith, the owner of the vehicle. Smith alleged that he had not seen the vehicle since he last parked it in his driveway and he later signed a vehicle theft report.

In spite of Smith’s allegations of theft, Philadelphia Fire Marshalls declared that the burned F-150 had been an arson. The car had a strong odor of gasoline and a trained arson detection canine gave multiple alerts that indicated that the fire had been intentional. Furthermore, Smith’s F-150 is equipped with a transponder ignition which would prohibit it from being started without the use of the correct key. Detectives then contacted investigators from Erie Insurance who alleged that Smith had participated in an examination under oath and had testified that his vehicle had been stolen. Investigators stated that the Ford F-150 had been declared a total loss and that Erie Insurance had issued over seventeen thousand dollars in payment for the vehicle.

Detectives also interviewed multiple witnesses who gave statements indicating that Smith had committed arson in order to receive insurance money for his the vehicle which he could no longer afford. Based on the Fire Marshall’s investigation, witness interviews and the fact that the car had been equipped with a transponder ignition, Smith was arrested for Arson, Causing or Risking Catastrophe, Criminal Mischief, Theft by Deception, Insurance Fraud, Perjury, Securing Execution, False Swearing and Unsworn Falsifying on July 31, 2014. He is next scheduled to appear in Philadelphia Municipal Court on August 8, 2014 for a status listing.

ADA Debra Naish and Detective Patrick Gleason of IFU are specially assigned to this case.


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