Philadelphia – Detectives from the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office Insurance Fraud Unit arrested Bernice Byrd and Verelena Jackson after receiving a referral from Erie Insurance Company. On February 10, 2013, Jackson and Byrd went to the Wash and Lube, located at 4131 Chestnut Street in Philadelphia, to file a police report for an iPod which went missing during their last visit to the car wash. While Jackson and Byrd stood outside of their vehicle and in front of the Wash and Lube, an employee of the car wash mistakenly backed a vehicle into Byrd’s parked 2009 Nissan Rogue. Although Byrd and Jackson were not inside of the vehicle when this collision occurred, they hired counsel to represent them in a personal injury claim against Erie Insurance, which insures the Wash and Lube.
Detectives reviewed the referral file from Erie Insurance which included interviews with employees of the Wash and Lube. Insurance Fraud Unit detectives interviewed two employees of the car wash who both stated that Byrd and Jackson were outside of the vehicle when the Nissan Rogue was struck. Detectives also obtained a non-reportable accident report completed by a University of Pennsylvania police officer which did not list either woman as a passenger of the Rogue. During a civil deposition, the officer stated that he did not witness the accident, but arrived to the scene because of the report of a missing electronic device. The officer stated that once he arrived on the scene, the women stated that their car had been struck but neither reported that they were in the car when the accident occurred. Furthermore, the officer pointed out that Byrd described watching the striking vehicle through her rear view mirror in her own civil deposition; however, this would have been impossible because the striking vehicle hit the front of the Nissan Rogue.
Byrd and Jackson alleged that they were sitting inside of the vehicle at the time of the accident and they were jolted as a result. Byrd and Jackson both sought medical treatment and their attorney submitted these medical bills to 21st Century Insurance Company. As a result, 21st Century issued payments totaling eight thousand three hundred and ninety-two dollars for Byrd and Jackson’s supposed injuries. Jackson and Byrd were arrested for Insurance Fraud, Attempted Theft by Deception and Conspiracy on February 24 and 29, 2016. Both are listed for a status hearing in Philadelphia Municipal Court in mid-March.