Author Archive

PHILADELPHIA DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE RELEASES STATEMENT ON KELLEY B. HODGE BEING APPOINTED AS INTERIM DISTRICT ATTORNEY

July 21, 2017

PHILADELPHIA (July 20, 2017) – The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office today released the following statement on the appointment of Kelley B. Hodge as Interim District Attorney by the Court of Common Pleas Board of Judges:

“The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office congratulates Interim District Attorney Hodge on her appointment. We are excited to welcome her back to the Office, and we look forward to working with her throughout her term in office.”

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PHILADELPHIA DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE AND AMTRAK CLOSE $26,000 FRAUD CASE

July 13, 2017

PHILADELPHIA (July 13, 2017) – The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office and Amtrak’s Office of Inspector General today announced the arrest and prosecution of Shohana Culberson for defrauding Amtrak of more than $26,000 in illegal tickets. Culberson (DOB: 03-16-1987) was charged with Theft of Services and Criminal Conspiracy, and was terminated from Amtrak.

“The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office is always ready to support our fellow investigators,” said Kathleen E. Martin, Acting Philadelphia District Attorney. “After a joint investigation, we charged Shohana Culberson for illegally using her position as an Amtrak employee to acquire more than 281 tickets, totaling $26,270, between December 2014 and April 2016.”

An Amtrak Conductor in Selma, North Carolina in May of 2016, found two passengers who could not produce identification for their Employee Rail Pass tickets They were escorted off the train and consented to a search. One passenger was found to be in possession of Oxymorphone Hydrochloride, a Schedule II Drug, and the other had an outstanding arrest warrant for Trafficking Opium and Heroin from Cumberland County, North Carolina. Both individuals were arrested.

The Amtrak Police Department (APD) discovered that their tickets were created using the Amtrak Employee Rail Pass assigned to Culberson. The travelers listed on the reservation were her alleged spouse and her daughter. While Culberson told OIG investigators that she had been married since 2008; that was later discovered to not be true. After assisting in the investigation, the DAO affirmed charges for defrauding Amtrak of goods and services. An Arrest Warrant was issued for Culberson, and she later surrendered Amtrak Police at 30th Street Station in Philadelphia. Ultimately, Culberson received five years of probation and ordered to pay restitution to Amtrak.

“I commend the OIG staff and our partners in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office who investigated this case. It shows that area law enforcement and the Office of Inspector General are committed in preventing and detecting fraud, waste, and abuse whenever and wherever it happens,” said Tom Howard, Amtrak Inspector General.

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WOMAN CHARGED WITH FILING A FRAUDULENTCLAIM AGAINST FARMERS INSURANCE COMPANY

July 10, 2017

Defendants:

  • Traine Smith
  • Age: 47
  • OTN: U0818985

Charges:

  • Insurance Fraud 18 Pa C.S. § 4117 – F3
  • Attempted Theft by Deception 18 Pa C.S. § 3922 – F3

Philadelphia – Detectives from the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office Insurance Fraud Unit arrested Traine Smith on June 11, 2017 after receiving an insurance fraud referral from Farmers Insurance Company. Ms. Smith picked up her vehicle from the Philadelphia Police Impound Lot on June 11, 2014. She also purchased insurance for her vehicle on that same date. She then filed an insurance claim on June 12, 2014, stating that her vehicle was vandalized while parked in her driveway. Ms. Smith gave a statement to a representative of Farmers Insurance clearly stating that her vehicle was vandalized on the morning of June 12, 2014. She stated that her vehicle did not have any damage when she picked it up from the lot.

Ms. Smith’s vehicle was impounded on May 31, 2013 by the Philadelphia Police Department, pursuant to a narcotics investigation. A Philadelphia Police Department “Impound Lot Vehicle Inventory Control Sheet” states that the vehicle upon delivery to the impound lot had several dents and scratches all over the vehicle. There was also significant damage to the right and left quarter panel, as well as the hood and front window. The police officer who prepared the control sheet was interviewed by detectives from the Insurance Fraud Unit, and confirmed the information written in the records of the Philadelphia Police Impound Lot.

Detectives from the Insurance Fraud Unit also reviewed the case file from Farmers Insurance Company. Their documents revealed that Ms. Smith called Flatts Roadside Assistance Service Company to help jumpstart her vehicle on the day she picked it up from the impound lot. The mechanic that was dispatched by the company stated in an interview with an investigator from Farmers Insurance Company that he noticed significant damage, such as a crack in the windshield, and several scratched and dents on the left and right sides of the vehicle. Furthermore, Ms. Smith in recorded statements to the investigator states that she called OT Tire Company to help her with a flat tire and called Flatts Roadside Assistance Service Company to help jumpstart her vehicle. Unfortunately her vehicle would not start and had to be towed to her home.

Ms. Smith provided Farmers Insurance with a “Proof of Loss, Automobile Physical Damage Claim” form, where she listed the damages to her vehicle as “ rocks dented hood, mirror broken, oil in seat of car, wiring damage, flat tire, paint scratched on all doors, and passenger side fender cracked.” Ms. Smith was interviewed by detectives of the Insurance Fraud Unit on March 20, 2017. She stated again that the damage to her vehicle was due to the vandalism and that when she picked up her vehicle from the impound lot there weren’t any damages.

On April 21, 2017, the mechanic who was dispatched to the impound lot was interviewed. He stated that when he arrived he notices visible damage to Ms. Smith’s vehicle. He also recalled that she wanted him to document the damages so that she can submit the information to her insurance company. He stated that he never filled out any document to sustain her assertions.

After a review of the evidence Ms. Shane was arrested on June 11, 2017, on the above stated charges. She is next listed to appear in Philadelphia Municipal Court on July 21, 2017 for her arraignment.

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MAN CHARGED FOR REGISTERING A VEHICLE WITH A FRAUDULENT STATE FARM INSURANCE FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY CARD

July 10, 2017

Defendant:

  • Christian Van Robertson
  • Age: 25
  • OTN: U0837270

Charges:

  • Forgery 18 Pa C.S. § 4101 – F3
  • Insurance Fraud 18 Pa C.S. § 4117 – F3

Philadelphia – Detectives from the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office Insurance Fraud Unit arrested Christian Van Robertson after they received a referral from the Philadelphia Police Department.

On August 17, 2016, Christian Van Robertson was pulled over by two police officers while driving. Mr. Van Robertson provided the two police officers with his license and with his financial responsibility card from State Farm Insurance Company. The police officers called the insurance company which stated that the financial responsibility card provided was fraudulent.

Detectives from the Insurance Fraud Unit conducted a vehicle registration check which revealed that Mr. Van Robertson registered his vehicle with the fraudulent financial responsibility card at Hernandez Auto Tags on May 27, 2016. Further detectives also reached out to State Farm Insurance Company, which provided them with statement that they never issued any insurance cards to the defendant.

Christian Van Robertson was arrested on June 21st, 2017. He is next scheduled to appear for his a status listing in Philadelphia Municipal Court on July 32, 2017

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WOMAN FILES 23 FRAUDULENT CLAIMS WITH AFLAC INSURANCE COMPANY AND TRAVELERS INSURANCE COMPANY

July 10, 2017

Defendants:

  • Bonita Ashley
  • Age: 60
  • OTN: U0834363

Charges:

  • Forgery 18 Pa C.S. § 4101 – F3 (14 counts)
  • Insurance Fraud 18 Pa C.S. § 4117 – F3 (13 counts)
  •  Attempted Theft by Deception 18 Pa C.S. § 3922 – F3 (1 count)
  • Theft by Deception 18 Pa C.S. § 3922 – F3 (1 count)

Philadelphia – Detectives from the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office Insurance Fraud Unit arrested Bonita Ashley after receiving an insurance fraud referral from AFLAC Insurance Company (AFLAC). Over the two year period between 2014 and 2016, Ashley Bonita filed 22 false insurance claims for benefits with AFLAC. She was subsequently paid $10,605.000 in benefits, and attempted to file a claim against Travelers Insurance Company for an alleged broken tooth.

Detectives from the Insurance Fraud Unit performed search warrants for Ms. Ashley’s medical records from various hospitals where Ms. Ashley stated that she was admitted. On many occasions, the records that Ms. Ashley submitted to AFLAC had forged dates, and stated that she was treated for ailments that she never received any treatment. Many of the records submitted were doctored from her previous medical history.

For example, Ms. Ashley submitted a claim to AFLAC stating that she was treated and had spinal surgery performed at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital on March 3, 2015. Her actual medical records stated that she was treated for a posterior lumbar decompression on August 27, 2012 at that hospital.

Other claims submitted contained the same false information. On June 12, 2015, Ms. Ashley submitted a claim which stated that she was treated for a fracture in her right ankle. The surgical report that she submitted, stated that the surgery lasted 105 minutes. Her actual medical records from the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania revealed that she never had such surgery. Also, the doctor whom Ms. Ashley stated performed the surgery has a strict specialty in surgery of the shoulder. She submitted two other claims on November 2. 2015 and November 3, 2015 claiming that she fell and needed a hip replacement. On these two claims. Ms. Ashley did not identify where she received treatment, however she provided a telephone number to Penn Medicine and Rehabilitation Center. None of the records from that hospital suggest that Ms. Ashley received treatment for hip related injuries or had a hip replacement surgery.

She submitted two other claims on June 10, 2015 and on June 30, 2015 to AFLAC. On the claim submitted on June 10, 2015, Ms. Ashley claimed that she fell down a flight of stairs but did not require any ambulance transportation. She stated that she was treated for a fracture in her right leg and ankle at Chestnut Hill Hospital. On her claim from June 30, 2015, Ms. Ashley stated that she was treated at the Chestnut Hill Hospital emergency department after she fell down a flight of stairs because she was upset at the passing of her mother. Her medical records revealed that she was treated on June 9, 2015, at Chestnut Hill Hospital for joint pain and not a fracture. She was never treated at Chestnut Hill Hospital on June 30, 2015.

On June 29, 2016 and on July 15, 2016, Ms. Ashley submitted two claims claiming that as a result of an automobile accident she suffered from paralysis in her right calf and left knee. She stated that she received treatment at Progressive Injury Care and at the Hospital of University of Pennsylvania. A review of the medical records received from both providers revealed that Ms. Ashley falsified the dates that she received treatment and the type of treatment. Ms. Ashley was treated at Progressive Injury Care on March 21, 2016 and definitely not in June as she claimed in the records that she submitted. Further, Ms. Ashley was treated on June 20, 2016 at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, however her ailment was a kidney cyst and not a paralysis of her calf. AFLAC did not pay any benefits on this claim. When Ms. Ashley was informed that her claim was denied, she threatened to report AFLAC to the media and kept on insisting that she was a paraplegic and therefore eligible for the benefits in her policy for that ailment.

Lastly, a review of Ms. Ashley’s previous insurance claims revealed that she attempted to file a similar fraudulent claim against Travelers Insurance for a broken tooth at a T.G.I Friday restaurant. Ms. Ashley claimed that in December 19, 2014 she was having lunch with her co-workers. While eating her lunch, Ms. Ashley bit down on an uncooked grain of rice which caused her tooth to split in half. She stated that she went to her dentist on the same day, and that by December 31, 2014 she had her tooth extracted. On January 6, 2015 she was informed that her claim was denied. Again, when informed of this Ms. Ashley called Travelers Insurance Company and threatened to call the media and inform them that the restaurant serves uncooked food.

On January 23, 2015, the manager of the T.G.I. Friday restaurant received a call from one of Ms. Ashley’s coworkers. Ms. Ashley was and is currently employed at the Juvenile Justice Center as a case manager for at-risk youth. The coworker asked to remain anonymous, stated that she was having a holiday lunch with Ms. Ashley. In a recorded statement, her coworker stated, that Ms. Ashley’s tooth was chipped previously but that she planned to go into the restaurant and claim that it was their food that damaged her tooth. On May 22, 2017, detectives from the Insurance Fraud Unit interviewed her co-worker and confirmed the version of events that she gave to representatives of Travelers Insurance and the restaurant.

On June 5, 2017, Ms. Ashley was also interviewed by detectives from the Insurance Fraud Unit. She begrudgingly admitted to committing fraud and to falsifying her medical records while stating “as broke as I am, I may have altered the information on the forms”. Nevertheless to this day, Ms. Ashley sustains that she broke her tooth due to uncooked rice.

Overall Ms. Ashley provided drastically altered copies of her medical records from Thomas Jefferson Hospital, Chestnut Hill Hospital, Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital, and Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania Hospital to AFLAC. Further she provided falsified dental records to Travelers Insurance Company to sustain her fractured tooth claim. Before her arrest date, Ms. Bonita was given several chances to surrender. Ms. Bonita on a couple instances would call and state that she cannot comply with her arrest warrant because she was hospitalized. Ashley Bonita finally did surrender and was arrested on June 20, 2017, on the above stated charges.

Bonita Ashley is next scheduled to appear in courtroom 406, for a Status of Counsel Hearing on July 21, 2017 in Philadelphia Municipal Court.

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PHILADELPHIA DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE ISSUES STATEMENT ON THE RESIGNATION OF R. SETH WILLIAMS AS PHILADELPHIA’S DISTRICT ATTORNEY

June 29, 2017

PHILADELPHIA (June 29, 2017) – Kathleen Martin, First Assistant for the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office (DAO) today released the following statement on the resignation of R. Seth Williams as Philadelphia’s District Attorney:

The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office embodies the phrase that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The Assistant District Attorneys and professional staff of the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office are among the finest in the country. Throughout this unfortunate period they continued to display the diligence, fortitude, and integrity that has historically been a hallmark of the Office. I could not be more proud of how my hardworking colleagues have conducted themselves in light of the investigation and prosecution of Mr. Williams, and now with the conclusion of this case, Philadelphians should know that their District Attorney’s Office continues the pursuit of justice and the hope for a safer city endures.

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MAN CHARGED FOR REGISTERING A VEHICLE WITH A FRAUDULENT TRAVELERS INSURANCE FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY CARD

June 14, 2017

Defendant:

  • Harold Mobley

Charges:

  • Forgery 18 Pa C.S. § 4101 – F3
  • Insurance Fraud 18 Pa C.S. § 4117 – F3
  • Tampering with Records 18 Pa C.S. § 4104 – M1

Philadelphia – Detectives from the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office Insurance Fraud Unit arrested Harold Mobley after receiving an insurance fraud referral from Travelers Insurance Company. Mr. Mobley was involved in a motor vehicle accident on April 24, 2017. After attempting to flee the scene of the accident, he was apprehended by the driver of the other vehicle, who followed him after the accident for several blocks. Mr. Mobley provided the other driver with his fraudulent Travelers Insurance financial responsibility card.

The other driver attempted to file a claim with Travelers Insurance for the damages to her vehicle, however was informed by representatives from the insurance company that Mr. Mobley did not have a policy with them. Detectives from the Insurance Fraud Unit reviewed the title history for Mr. Mobley’s vehicle and found that he registered his vehicle with the fraudulent financial responsibility card that he provided to the other driver. Further, detectives interviewed the driver of the other vehicle and a tag agent from Martin Tag Agency where Mr. Mobley submitted his registration information. They both identified Mr. Mobley and stated that he provided them with the information on the fake financial responsibility card.

Harold Mobley was arrested on June 5th, 2017. He is next scheduled to appear for his arraignment in Philadelphia Municipal Court on June 26, 2017.

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HOTLINE OPEN TO RECEIVE REPORTS OF PAYMENTS FOR SERVICES BY THE PHILADELPHIA VETERANS ADVISORY COMMISSION

June 1, 2017

PHILADELPHIA (June 1, 2017) – The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office (DAO) today released the following statement announcing the creation of a hotline so citizens can report any requests of payment for services by the Philadelphia Veterans Advisory Commission:

As of a result of citizen inquiries, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office is asking anyone who paid a fee to receive any type of service from the Philadelphia Veteran’s Advisory Commission to contact the Office’s consumer hotline at 215-686-9641. Examples of fees could include; but are not limited to; legal, housing, or disability fees.

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HOTLINE OPEN TO RECEIVE REPORTS OF PAYMENTS FOR SERVICES BY THE PHILADELPHIA VETERANS ADVISORY COMMISSION

June 1, 2017

PHILADELPHIA (June 1, 2017) – The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office (DAO) today released the following statement announcing the creation of a hotline so citizens can report any requests of payment for services by the Philadelphia Veterans Advisory Commission:

As of a result of citizen inquiries, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office is asking anyone who paid a fee to receive any type of service from the Philadelphia Veteran’s Advisory Commission to contact the Office’s consumer hotline at 215-686-9641. Examples of fees could include; but are not limited to; legal, housing, or disability fees.

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STATEMENT ON VACATING THE CONVICTION OF SHARUN THOMAS

May 23, 2017

The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office today issued the following statment on vacating the conviction of Shaurn Thomas from Kathleen E. Martin, First Assistant District Attorney:

The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office is proud to have a conviction review unit that meets or exceeds all national protocols. I am grateful for the hard work and dedication of BJ Graham-Rubin, Andrew Wellbrock and Jill Roth who are tirelessly reviewing all case that have been submitted. Our role is to seek justice at every opportunity and whether it be prosecuting violent criminals or reviewing cases to ensure those behind bars deserve to be there, we will carry out this duty fairly and thoroughly. As you know, we have agreed to vacate the conviction of Mr. Thomas and recommend his immediate pretrial release. We will continue to review this case and make a decision regarding retrial in the very near future.

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