Seventeen people including a lawyer and a chiropractor have been indicted in Philadelphia for allegedly staging phony car accidents in order to defraud auto insurance companies. This was announced by Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams, U.S. Attorney Michael Levy and FBI Special Agent in Charge Janice Fedarcyk last February 19.
On what is said reported to be mail fraud involving $634,000, investigators revealed that vehicles were made to look as if it figured in a car accident. Thus, several vehicles were intentionally damaged or driven into walls. An unidentified body shop is included in the scheme although this has not yet been named.
Among those charged was Glori Kasner, 36, a lawyer from Huntingdon Valley. She was reported to have helped obtain civil settlements payments for people involved in fraudulent mishaps. Reynold Rivera, 39, was also named as a defendant although his exact role was not revealed by prosecutors.
Investigators reveal that the scheme started in 2007. A former member of the Philadelphia police force, Drexel Reid, and a tow truck driver was indicted for approaches made to several people asking them to be part of the scheme. After staging the fake accidents, the bogus victims would allegedly file insurance claims. Some would present the “crashed” vehicle to the insurance companies while others would declare to their insurer that their vehicles obtained damage.
Because of his position as a police officer, false police reports would be obtained. The recruited driver and passengers were all party to this scheme. Medical reports would also be used in cohort with the chiropractor. The lawyer would then handle the civil aspect of the indemnification process. What made the incident graver was that aside from settlement awards, the latter would also ask for kickbacks. There is a scripted story for the alleged incident to give it a picture of authenticity.
According to Levy, the acts committed by the group “to get money is stealing.” Stephen Rios, 45, a chiropractor, was charged with 23 counts of mail fraud. His role includes collecting payments for fake medical services and for releasing false patient treatment records. Since Kasner and Rios are both professionals in their field, they are both beholden to follow the ethics required by their professions. The legal profession and medical practice demands honesty among its practitioners.
Fedarcyk said that auto insurance companies were not the only victims of fraudulently obtained settlements but also every consumer as well. On the list of insurers who paid such settlements include Cambridge, MetLife, Allstate, Safe Auto, Liberal Mutual, AIG, Rutgers, Progressive, Stafarm, Proformance, USAA, and Erie.