At least eight Philadelphians will be facing charges of insurance fraud filed in December 2009. What happened to them is a good lesson for those who are planning to make a vehicular personal injury claim as an ATM to squeeze out green bucks.
The office of the District Attorney records showed that start of the alleged fraud began was a bus accident in December 2009 in a SEPTA bus in Center City.
The side view mirror of a SEPTA bus was clipped by an armored car along Walnut and 15th Streets. The bus did a slight bump which was was hardly noticeable as the passengers continued their conversation. The result was a small scratch and a broken side mirror. Nobody was injured.
After the incident, SEPTA started receiving multiple claims from people who stated that they were injured and they were represented by only one attorney.
The combined medical bills of the eight plaintiffs totaled to the amount of $80,000. SEPTA spokesperson said that yearly the transport company pays out about $40 million for honest claims.
The lawyer of the alleged victims also filed claims with the Brinks armored car company even though the armored car was not involved in the accident. But the lawyer continued pressing charges.
Prosecutors did not identify the lawyer as no charges have been filed.
A number of surveillance cameras are installed in SEPTA buses that capture a good view of all passengers ever moment. Route 21 bus involved in the incident had several surveillance cameras set up in locations that give clear view of all the passengers and the surroundings.
Of the eight who filed charges, only two were in the video the others were not there.
It appears there were only two plaintiffs, Malik Spivey and Lorraine Huff, who were passengers on that bus.
The video also showed Eric Lovett standing outside the bus, asking for the incident form card, Prosecutor stated that Lovett got five other people on the street or around his NE Philly neighborhood to file monetary claims of injuries.
DA Office spokesperson, Tasha Jamerson said that Lovett enlisted these people to file claims for money.
The following are charged with criminal conspiracy, insurance fraud and other related crimes:
They were charged with the following crimes criminal conspiracy, insurance fraud and related crimes are: 56 years-old Avis Jackson; 46 years-old Eric Lovett; 48-years old Kitt Smith, 45 years old Malik Spivey; and 36 years old Stephanie Williams. Facing the same charges, plus two counts of perjury are 45 years old Lorraine Huff; 46 years old Faith Rowley; and 55 years old Arthur Whaley, 55.
Between September 20 and 27, all of them were arrested and are scheduled to have a day in the Criminal Justice Center on Monday.
Perhaps these eight dishonest people were not aware that 60% of the SEPTA fleet are installed with surveillance cameras.
This was their way of discouraging dishonest people from filing false claims of injury for monetary gain.
In 2011, SEPTA office was the recipient of 5,219 claims. In 2012, ending June, the number reduced by 10% - down to 4,656. With the surveillance camera, the number will be going down further.
February 7. 2013
Two Philadelphians were filed charges for insurance fraud due to false claims for injuries in a minor SEPTA bus accident.
According the DAs office, it was a very insignificant accident.
On February 17, 2011, a truck got close to the bus shattering its side view mirror. The SEPTA bus was going south and was along Spruce and 23rd Streets when the side view mirror was clipped.
The surveillance cameras on the bus showed that the passengers were not perturbed and were continued talking to their companions.
There was no report of injuries and the bus was not damaged except the broken mirror and slight scratches.
There was no need to call the emergency crew.
The two passengers on the bus, Ashantai Pate, 25, and Timothy Barton, 46, filed injury claims. were on the bus. Said that due to the impact she was forced to jerk and slam against the window.
Her back was injured and she presented the mass transit a medical bill of $5000. Barton said due to the accident he had a whiplash giving him headaches and back pain. He presented SEPTA a tab over $6,000 for 39 medical treatments.
Both of them did not know that there were surveillance cameras in the bus. The video at the time of the incident showed them engaged in conversation and not noticing the impact of the mirror.
The video showed that no person was injured.
The two alleged fakers were arrested for insurance fraud and additional charges for attempted thief by deception and conspiracy..
Car Accident victims may be entitled to financial compensation for pain and suffering in addition to economic damages.