Archive for the ‘Insurance Fraud Arrest’ Category

ATTORNEY ARRESTED FOR PAYING CIVILIANS TO FILE FRAUDULENT PERSONAL INJURY LAWSUITS

February 1, 2016

Philadelphia – Detectives from the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office Insurance Fraud Unit investigated attorney Stuart Doctorvitz for paying several co-conspirators to recruit individuals to file fraudulent personal injury lawsuits. Philadelphia DAO Insurance Fraud Unit detectives learned of this conspiracy through the arrest of Jerome Johnson, a defendant in the American Collision grand jury investigation. Detectives recovered Johnson’s 2004 Ford Expedition and cell phone in connection to his arrest. Johnson’s cell phone contained numerous pictures of defective sidewalks located through Philadelphia as well as pictures of addresses or street signs that connected each sidewalk to its individual location. Detectives also found pieces of note paper with addresses or intersections along with the word “spot” in Johnson’s 2004 Ford Expedition. Johnson also had business cards belonging to attorney Stuart Doctorvitz in his vehicle as well.

Text messages retrieved from Johnson’s cell phone established that Jerome Johnson and Stuart Doctorvitz conspired to recruit citizens to file fraudulent personal injury lawsuits. The recovered text messages between Johnson and Doctorvitz discuss good locations to stage slip and fall claims and criticize the caliber of Johnson’s client referrals. Pursuant to this investigation, detectives served a search warrant on the Law Offices of Stuart Doctorvitz and seized all questionable client files. As a result of the investigation, the following defendants were arrested for filing fraudulent injury lawsuits with the aid of Stuart Doctorvitz: Michael Boone, Derrel Moore, Jamal Ransom, Andre Montgomery, Robert Samuel, Rochelle Newell, Lisa DiCastando, Darya Golatt, Kevin Dabney and James Hendricks. Descriptions of each individual’s fictitious claim is included below.

On September 15, 2015, Michael Boone was arrested for Theft by Deception, Criminal Conspiracy, Insurance Fraud and False Swearing in connection to a fraudulent slip and fall claim he filed with the assistance of Stuart Doctorvitz.  Boone claimed that he tripped and fell on a defective sidewalk in front of Little Starz Learning Center on 5429 Larchwood Street in Philadelphia on October 11, 2012. Doctorvitz filed a lawsuit against the business on behalf of Boone and requested fifty thousand dollars for Boone’s injuries. During the course of the investigation, Insurance Fraud Unit detectives approached Boone about his injury claim. He stated that Jerome Johnson asked him if he wanted to make money from filing a fictitious lawsuit. Boone stated that he then met with Doctorvitz who coached him on the nature of his claim.

On September 8, 2015, Moore was arrested for Theft by Deception, Criminal Conspiracy, Insurance Fraud and False Swearing in connection to a fraudulent personal injury claim which he filed with the assistance of Stuart Doctorvitz. Moore alleged that on September 28, 2012, he tripped on a defective sidewalk out front of Fresh Donuts located at 5944 Market Street in Philadelphia. Moore retained Doctorvitz who filed suit against Affirmative Risk Management which insures Fresh Donuts. At one point during litigation, Doctorvitz threatened to sue Affirmative Risk Management for bad faith if they refused to settle this claim. When approached by Insurance Fraud Unit detectives, Moore stated that Jerome Johnson had suggested he file a fraudulent personal injury lawsuit. Johnson brought Moore to Doctorvitz’s office and instructed him to say that he fell in front of the Fresh Donuts. Moore stated that he did not receive any settlement money from this case.

On September 11, 2015, Jamal Ransom was arrested for Theft by Deception, Criminal Conspiracy, Insurance Fraud and False Swearing in connection to a staged personal injury lawsuit he filed with assistance of Stuart Doctorvitz. Ransom alleged that on December 9, 2012, he tripped on a defective sidewalk in front of Ken Crest Centers located at 5900 Elmwood Avenue in Philadelphia. Ransom stated that he was walking on Elmwood Avenue towards 60th Street when he tripped on a sidewalk that had been raised by a tree root. When approached by Insurance Fraud Unit detectives, Ransom stated that Johnson had suggested he file a fraudulent personal injury lawsuit in order that he could make some extra money. Ransom said that Johnson took him to Doctorvitz’s law office, and after Johnson and Doctorvitz privately conferred with one another, Doctorvitz proceeded to question Ransom. Doctorvitz’s file indicates that he settled this claim with Philadelphia Insurance Company for fourteen thousand four hundred dollars. Ransom stated that he received one thousand dollars for his participation.

On September 15, 2015, Andre Montgomery was arrested for Theft by Deception, Criminal Conspiracy, Insurance Fraud and False Swearing in connection to a fraudulent personal injury case that he filed with the assistance of Stuart Doctorvitz. Montgomery alleged that on February 27, 2012 he slipped and fell as he was walking on the 300 block of S. 13th Street. When he was approached by Insurance Fraud Unit detectives, Montgomery stated that he is personally acquainted with Jerome Johnson and that Johnson had asked him to file a fraudulent personal injury lawsuit. Montgomery said that Johnson told him to go to the emergency room and report he was injured. After Montgomery went to the hospital, Johnson took him to meet with Doctorvitz who then filed suit against North American Capacity Insurance Company.

On September 10, 2015, Samuel was arrested for Theft by Deception, Criminal Conspiracy, Insurance Fraud, False Swearing and False Reports in connection to a fraudulent injury claim that he filed with the assistance of Stuart Doctorvitz. Samuel alleged that on August 29, 2013, he had an accident at the intersection of 65th Street and Cobbs Creek Parkway. Samuel stated that he was traveling on Cobbs Creek Parkway and attempting to make a left-hand turn when the car behind him also attempted to turn and consequently struck Samuel’s passenger side front wheel-well. Samuel claimed that the other driver failed to stop. When Insurance Fraud Unit detectives approached Samuel he stated that he was not actually involved in an accident on August 29, 2013, but rather Johnson had arranged for someone to damage his 2006 Dodge in order that Samuel could file an injury claim with Stuart Doctorvitz. Following Johnson’s instructions, Samuel filed a claim with both the Philadelphia Police and Allstate Insurance Company even though no real accident occurred.

On September 9, 2015, Rochelle Newell was arrested for two counts of Theft by Deception, two counts of Criminal Conspiracy, two counts of Insurance Fraud and two counts of False Swearing in connection to two fraudulent personal injury claims which she filed with the assistance of Stuart Doctorvitz. In the first claim, Newell alleged that she fell in front of 504 N. 63rd Street on June 29, 2009 after she tripped over a defective sidewalk. In the second claim, Newell alleged that she fell in front of 1804 Bainbridge Street after she tripped over a raised sidewalk. When approached by Insurance Fraud Unit detectives, Newell stated that Johnson had set up both of these fraudulent claims and that she had never been to either location. Stuart Doctorvitz settled the first claim with Harleysville Insurance Company for thirty one thousand and five hundred dollars and he settled the second claim with American Family Home Insurance Company for fifteen thousand dollars. Newell stated that she received one thousand dollars for her participation in the 2009 claim but that she did not receive any money for her participating in the 2012 claim.

Lisa DiCastando, Darya Golatt and Kevin Dabney were all arrested in mid-September 2015 for charges including Theft by Deception, Criminal Conspiracy, Insurance Fraud and False Reports. DiCastando, Golatt and Dabney all falsely claimed to have been involved in an auto accident with a deer. DiCastando claimed that she was driving her vehicle on Fort Mifflin Road on April 15, 2011 when a deer ran in front of her car and caused her to lose control and strike a guardrail. Golatt and Dabney claimed that they were passengers in DiCastando’s car during this accident. All three then retained Stuart Doctorvitz as their personal injury attorney and filed claims with Nationwide Insurance Company. When approached by Insurance Fraud Unit detectives, DiCastando stated that she told her cousin, Jerome Johnson, of her car troubles and he said he could have her vehicle fixed if she made an accident claim and filed a police report. DiCastando said she was told to report that she had struck a deer and that she had two passengers with her at the time of the accident. However, DiCastando did not meet these passengers (Golatt and Dabney) until Johnson brought her to Doctorvitz’s office. Golatt and Dabney were also recruited by Johnson to be part of this fraudulent accident claim. Nationwide paid sixty-six thousand four hundred and ninety-seven dollars in settling the claims filed by DiCastando, Golatt and Dabney.

On September 3, 2015, James Hendricks was arrested for Theft by Deception, Criminal Conspiracy, Insurance Fraud and False Swearing in connection to a fraudulent personal injury claim which he filed with the assistance of Stuart Doctorvitz. James Hendricks alleged that on December 5, 2012, he fell when he tripped over raised concrete on the 900 block of Pine Street in Philadelphia. When approached by Insurance Fraud Unit detectives, Hendricks stated that he was approached by Ernie Shaw, a different recruiter paid by Doctorvitz, who asked him if he wanted to file a fraudulent injury claim for money. Shaw took him to see Stuart Doctorvitz who filed a claim with York Insurance Company, which insured 910 Pine Street. York Insurance Company later settled this claim for thirty thousand dollars and Hendricks stated he received approximately five thousand for his participation.

Stuart Doctorvitz was arrested on January 20, 2016 for knowingly filing fraudulent personal injury lawsuits for accidents which never occurred. He was charged with Theft by Deception, Attempted Theft by Deception, Criminal Conspiracy, Insurance Fraud, Unsworn Falsifying, False Swearing and False Reports. He is next scheduled to appear in Philadelphia Municipal Court on February 9, 2016 for a status hearing.

 

 

WOMAN REGISTERS 2007 MERCURY WITH A FRAUDULENT AMERICAN INDEPENDENT FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY IDENTIFICATION CARD

February 1, 2016

Philadelphia – Detectives from the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office Insurance Fraud Unit investigated Felicia Glenn after receiving a referral from Omni Insurance Company, the parent company of American Independent. The referral alleged that Glenn had registered her 2007 Mercury with a fraudulent American Independent financial responsibility identification card.

Insurance Fraud Unit detectives retrieved Glenn’s PennDOT title history which showed that Glenn had registered her 2007 Mercury with an American Independent financial responsibility identification card in 2014.  Detectives then contacted the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and confirmed that Glenn is the registered owner of the 2007 Mercury. Detectives also spoke with a representative from American Independent who stated that neither they nor their related companies insure Glenn or her 2007 Mercury. Glenn was arrested on January 22, 2016 for Forgery and Insurance Fraud. She is next scheduled in Philadelphia Municipal Court for a status hearing on February 12, 2016.

MAN FILES FRAUDULENT PERSONAL INJURY CLAIM AGAINST SEPTA AND PROGRESSIVE INSURANCE COMPANY

January 22, 2016

Charges:              Insurance Fraud 18 Pa C.S. § 4117 – F3 (2 counts)

Attempted Theft by Deception 18 Pa C.S. § 3922 – F3

Theft by Deception 18 Pa C.S. § 3922 – M1

Philadelphia – Detectives from the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office Insurance Fraud Unit investigated Jean Oplan after receiving a referral from SEPTA. On July 19, 2014, Oplan was a passenger on the SEPTA Route 47 bus when the bus brushed against a Progressive insured Dodge Durango. As a result of the contact, the SEPTA bus broke the side view mirror of the Dodge Durango and the bus itself was scratched. Despite the lack of substantial damages, Oplan filled out a SEPTA claim form in which he stated that he injured his back, neck and arm as a result of this accident. Oplan retained a personal injury attorney to represent him in the lawsuit against SEPTA and Progressive Insurance Company.

Although Oplan did not seek emergency medical treatment immediately after the accident, he did later seek chiropractic treatment from Olney Orthopedic and Therapy. Medical records indicate that Oplan sought treatment at this facility on fifty-three separate occasions between July and December of 2014. The total cost of Oplan’s medical bills exceeded fifteen thousand dollars and were submitted to both SEPTA and Progressive. In response to Oplan’s claim, Progressive paid in excess of sixteen hundred and forty-two dollars towards Oplan’s medical bills.

The SEPTA Route 47 bus is equipped with a digital surveillance system which shows that the bus made slight contact with the parked Dodge Durango while traveling on N. 5th Street. The video shows the SEPTA bus damaging the side mirror of the Dodge Durango and then coming to a stop. The surveillance footage also shows that Oplan remains seated throughout this incident and none of the passengers on the bus appear to be disturbed or injured. Oplan was arrested for filing an allegedly fraudulent personal injury claim against SEPTA. Oplan was charged with two counts of Insurance Fraud, one count of Attempted Theft by Deception (F-3) and one count of Theft by Deception (M-1). He is next scheduled to appear in Philadelphia Municipal Court on January 26, 2016 for a hearing.

MAN REGISTERS VEHICLE WITH FRAUDULENT FARMERS AND AMERICAN INDEPENDENT FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY IDENTIFICATION CARDS

January 7, 2016

Philadelphia – Detectives from the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office Insurance Fraud Unit investigated Shalik Fogle for registering his 2005 Pontiac with a fraudulent Farmers Insurance financial responsibility identification card and a fraudulent American Independent Insurance financial responsibility identification card. On April 30, 2015, Fogle attempted to retrieve his 2005 Pontiac from the Philadelphia Police Auto Impound lot and presented a Farmers Insurance financial responsibility identification card to the officers present. Insurance Fraud Unit detectives contacted Farmers Insurance Company and learned that the policy number listed on Fogle’s financial responsibility identification card corresponds to a legitimate policy which was written in Illinois and cancelled in July 2014. However, the policy number does not insure Shalik Fogle or his 2005 Pontiac. Insurance Fraud Unit detectives also obtained Fogle’s Penndot title history which indicated that the 2005 Pontiac had also been registered with an American Independent financial responsibility identification card. Detectives contacted a representative from Omni Insurance, the American Independent parent insurance company, and learned that the policy number listed on that financial responsibility identification card was also bogus. Fogle was arrested for two counts of Forgery and two counts of Insurance Fraud on December 29, 2015. He is next listed for a status hearing on January 22, 2016.

MAN REGISTERS VEHICLE WITH FRAUDULENT AMERICAN INDEPENDENT FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY IDENTIFICATION CARD

December 31, 2015

Philadelphia – Detectives from the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office Insurance Fraud Unit investigated Terrence Hailey for registering his vehicle with a fraudulent financial responsibility identification card. On June 9, 2015, Hailey was stopped by police officers in the second district for driving an unregistered vehicle; Hailey failed to provide adequate insurance information. Philadelphia Police Officers referred this case to the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office Insurance Fraud Unit. Detectives obtained the title history for Hailey’s 2005 Cadillac and learned that he registered the vehicle with an American Independent financial responsibility identification card. Detectives contacted a representative from American Independent insurance company and learned that although the company did previously insure Hailey, his police was ultimately cancelled for non-payment. Furthermore, the listed policy number on Hailey’s identification card was not valid. Hailey was arrested for Forgery and Insurance Fraud on December 17, 2015. He is next scheduled to appear in Philadelphia Municipal Court for a status listing on December 28, 2015.

MAN ARRESTED FOR RECEIVING WORKER’S COMPENSATION BENEFITS WHILE WORKING AT ANOTHER LOCATION  

November 5, 2015

 

 

Philadelphia – Detectives from the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office Insurance Fraud Unit investigated Aadvon Pollitt for working while receiving worker’s compensation benefits after receiving a referral from the Delaware Department of Insurance Fraud. In November of 2013, Pollitt was injured while working as a maintenance mechanic at Cushman and Wakefield. Pollitt then stopped working and began to receive worker’s compensation benefits through AIG Property Insurance. Pollitt received in excess of fifteen thousand dollars in medical and lost wage benefits from AIG for the period of November of 2013 until April of 2014. However, the investigation revealed that two weeks after his injury at Cushman and Wakefield, Pollitt began to work as a maintenance clerk at the Sheraton Suites Hotel. Detectives spoke to supervisors at both Cushman and Wakefield and the Sheraton Suites Hotel and learned that Pollitt’s job responsibilities at both places of employment were identical. Pollitt therefore fraudulently received over ten thousand dollars in worker’s compensation benefits while he was simultaneously working full-time at a new place of employment. Pollitt was arrested on November 2, 2015 for receiving worker’s compensation benefits while working as a janitor at Sheraton Suites Hotel. He was charged with Insurance Fraud, Theft by Deception and a Violation of Worker’s Compensation Act and is next scheduled to appeal in the Philadelphia Municipal Court on November 10, 2015.

WOMAN FRAUDULENTLY REPORTS CAR STOLEN TO THE PHILADELPHIA POLICE AND GEICO INSURANCE COMPANY

November 2, 2015

Philadelphia – Detectives from the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office Insurance Fraud Unit investigated Jessica Santiago after receiving a referral from GEICO Insurance Company. On December 8, 2012, Santiago reported to both the Philadelphia Police Department and GEICO Insurance Company that her 2011 Dodge Charger had been stolen from the 2700 block of N. Orianna Street in Philadelphia. Insurance Fraud Unit Detectives retrieved the Philadelphia Police Department Investigation Report which stated that Santiago’s 2011 Dodge Charger had been stolen around three-thirty in the morning of December 8, 2012. Detectives also retrieved Philadelphia Police Non-Reportable Accident Report which stated that the same vehicle owned by Santiago was involved in an accident three hours after it had been reported stolen. The investigation revealed that GEICO Insurance Company paid thirteen thousand dollars to Santiago for the loss of her Dodge Charger; however, Santiago later gave the company a second recorded statement in which she admitted that her vehicle had been in an accident but was never stolen. Santiago was arrested on October 26, 2015 for Insurance Fraud, Theft by Deception and False Reports. She is next scheduled to appear in Philadelphia Municipal Court for a status listing on November 2, 2015.

BODY SHOP MANAGER DEFRAUDS FARMERS INSURANCE COMPANY OF TWENTY-FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS

November 2, 2015

Philadelphia – Detectives from the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office Insurance Fraud Unit investigated Jeffrey Freni after receiving a referral from Farmers Insurance Company. Insurance Fraud Unit detectives learned that Alex’s Auto Body, a South Philadelphia body shop managed by Freni, repetitively received payment from Farmers Insurance Company for repairs which they never completed. Detectives met with special investigators from Farmers Insurance Company who related that they had recently examined twelve of their customers’ vehicles after the cars were allegedly repaired at Alex’s Auto Body. These investigators found multiple instances of fraudulent activity: parts the insurance company paid for were never installed, some damaged parts had never been effectively repaired, and filler was used to make damaged areas appear as though they had been sufficiently fixed. Detectives examined these reports and found that Alex’s Auto Body had received in excess of twenty-five thousand dollars for parts they never installed and labor they never performed. Freni was arrested on October 20, 2015 for twelve counts of Insurance Fraud and twelve counts of Theft by Deception. He is next scheduled for a status listing on November 3, 2015 in Philadelphia Municipal Court.

MAN FILES FRAUDULENT PERSONAL INJURY CLAIM AGAINST SEPTA

November 2, 2015

Philadelphia – Detectives from the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office Insurance Fraud Unit investigated Joseph Powell after receiving a fraud referral from SEPTA. On May 1, 2014, Powell was riding on the SEPTA Route 84 bus when a ceiling panel popped open and swung down over the rear seat of the bus. Surveillance footage from the Route 84 bus shows that Powell was seated in front of where the panel came down; however, he was at no point struck by the panel. Despite his lack of injuries, Powell claimed that the panel had struck his head and injured his neck. Paramedics were called to the scene and although the paramedics reported that they observed no obvious signs of trauma, Powell was still transported to the hospital. Powell hired a personal injury attorney to represent him in his claim and the attorney submitted a SEPTA claim form on Powell’s behalf. The claim form indicated that Powell had been speaking to another passenger when an air conditioner suddenly dropped out of the back of the bus and struck him on the head. Powell continued to seek medical treatment on twenty-three separate occasions between October 2014 and January 2015 and incurred medical bills in excess of sixteen thousand dollars. Powell’s medical records reflect the same account of injuries sustained by a falling air conditioner while he was a passenger on the Route 84 bus. Powell was arrested on October 7, 2015 for Theft by Deception, Insurance Fraud and False Alarms. He is next scheduled to appear in Philadelphia Municipal Court on October 16, 2015 for a status listing.

 

WOMAN FRAUDULENTLY REPORTS CAR STOLEN TO THE PHILADELPHIA POLICE AND NATIONWIDE INSURANCE COMPANY

November 2, 2015

Philadelphia – Detectives from the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office Insurance Fraud Unit investigated Jackqueline Tolbert after receiving a fraud referral from Nationwide Insurance Company. On May 11, 2014, Tolbert reported her 2013 Mitsubishi stolen to the Philadelphia Police Department. Detectives retrieved the Philadelphia Police Stolen Auto Report which stated that the Tolbert’s 2013 Mitsubishi had been stolen between the dates of May 10, 2014 and May 11, 2014 from Wheeler Street in Philadelphia. The investigation revealed that Tolbert and her boyfriend reported the car stolen to both the Philadelphia Police and Nationwide Insurance Company because the payments for the car were too expensive to maintain. In an attempt to rid herself of the car payments, Tolbert gave the car to acquaintances and then filed a fraudulent theft claim with both the Philadelphia Police and Nationwide Insurance Company. In spite of admitting to the Philadelphia Police that the claim was fraudulent, Tolbert still gave a recorded statement to Nationwide Insurance Company in which she denied any knowledge of planning to report her car stolen. Tolbert was arrested on October 12, 2015 for Insurance Fraud, Attempted Theft by Deception, Criminal Conspiracy, Unsworn Falsifying and False Reports. She is next scheduled to appear in Philadelphia Municipal Court for a status listing on October 19, 2015.

 


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