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May 2021
Arrests  |  Convictions  | Submit a Referral

Union County Woman Charged with Homicide, Insurance Fraud, Theft and related Crimes

On May 27, 2021, Myrle E. Miller of Winfield was arrested in Union County. Charges were filed by the Pennsylvania State Police, following a lengthy Statewide Grand Jury investigation led by the Office of Attorney General. The Insurance Fraud Section provided assistance with the investigation. According to the written Grand Jury presentment issued in support of the charges, Miller’s late husband John Nichols died at age 77 on April 14, 2018, from acute Verapamil toxicity. The complaint stated that Verapamil is a blood pressure medicine which was not prescribed for Nichols, but which was prescribed for and obtained by Miller. The presentment further alleged that from the time of the couple’s marriage in 2012 to Nichols’ death in 2018, Miller systematically drained funds from Nichols’ bank and investment accounts without his knowledge or consent. According to the presentment, a forensic handwriting specialist reviewed a sampling of checks written on Nichols’ accounts between 2010 and 2018 and determined that Nichol’s purported signature was forged on a large portion of the checks. The expert further determined that Nichols’ signature had been forged on a change in beneficiary form submitted to Prudential which named Miller as the beneficiary on Nichols’ policies.  Subsequently, Miller allegedly convinced a male to pose as her husband during telephone calls to Prudential. According to the presentment, these calls enabled Miller to fraudulently obtain $27,000 in loan proceeds from the life insurance policies without her husband’s knowledge.  The presentment further stated that Miller engaged in numerous online romantic exchanges with men, many of whom she sent money to, during the months leading up to Nichols’ death. Miller was charged with one count each of First Degree Murder (H1), Insurance Fraud (F3), Theft by Deception (F3), Forgery (F2), Perjury (F3), and Dealing in Proceeds of Unlawful Activity (F1).

Township Supervisor Charged with Conflict of Interest, Fraud and Theft

On May 26, 2021, Kerry Lee Bumbaugh, a long time supervisor for Quincy Township in Franklin County was arrested. The arrest followed a joint investigation by the Office of Attorney General and the FBI, which the OAG conducted before a Statewide Investigating Grand Jury. According to the written presentment which was filed in support of the criminal charges, the Grand Jury found that Bumbaugh falsified and manipulated documents in order to illegally obtain public grant money and other funds, including more than $94,000 in claim proceeds from Selective Insurance, to which he was not entitled. The charging documents further alleged that Bumbaugh used his official position for his own financial benefit, by requiring township employees to spend work hours making improvements to his own residential property.  Bumbaugh was charged with two counts each of Conflict of Interest (F), Theft of Services (F3), Theft by Unlawful Taking or Disposition (F3), Tampering with Public Records (F3), Tampering with Public Records or Identification (M1), three counts of Theft by Deception (F3), and one count each of Insurance Fraud (F3), Forgery (F3), Criminal Attempt/Tampering with or Fabricating Physical Evidence (M2), and Securing Execution of Documents by Deception (M2).
(NO PHOTO) On May 26, 2021, Julia Slayna Krieger was arrested in Montgomery County on a warrant that had been issued previously.  According to the criminal complaint, on January 29, 2018, at 10:21 PM, Krieger’s uninsured vehicle was involved in a single car accident.  The complaint stated that the Pennsylvania State Police obtained a description of the accident directly from Krieger at the accident scene, then had her car towed. On January 31, Krieger allegedly called Permanent General Insurance and applied for a policy for her car. When asked to list any prior accidents involving the car, Krieger allegedly listed accidents which occurred in 2016 and 2017 only. According to the complaint, Krieger called The General on February 7, and filed an accident claim. During a recorded statement to the insurer, Krieger allegedly advised the insurer that the loss occurred on February 5, 2018. However, the complaint further stated that records from the State Police and the tow company confirmed that the accident occurred on January 29, which was prior to Krieger’s policy inception. The investigation revealed that the car remained at the tow facility for at least a year, long after the date that Krieger allegedly had provided as the date of loss. The claim was denied. Krieger was charged with one count of Insurance Fraud (F3), one count of Criminal Attempt/Theft by Deception (F3), one count of Insurance Fraud (M1), one count of Criminal Use of a Communication Facility (F3), and one count of Unlawful Use of a Computer (F3).
On May 28, 2021, Ethan Myers was arrested in Lancaster County. According to the criminal complaint, Myers obtained a liability policy for his Hyundai Sonata from Progressive Advanced Insurance on July 13, 2020. He allegedly contacted the insurer again on September 10, and requested the addition of comprehensive, collision, and rental coverage to his policy. The insurer indicated that the additional coverage would take effect on September 15, 2020. On September 19, Myers allegedly used Progressive’s mobile app to file a claim for an accident which involved the Sonata. According to the complaint, he reported that the loss occurred at 9:00 PM on September 18, 2020. Myers allegedly submitted photos of the damaged vehicle to Progressive. However, the complaint stated that the photo metadata revealed that the pictures were originally taken on August 22, 2020. In a recorded statement to the insurer, Myers allegedly claimed that on September 18, his Sonata hit an unknown object in the road, which caused the vehicle’s bumper to fall off and blew out the passenger side tires. According to the complaint, a Progressive representative interviewed Myers again and advised him that the photos of the vehicle damage were taken several weeks before comprehensive and collision coverage was added to Myers’ policy. Myers allegedly was unable to provide an explanation. The insurer denied the claim. According to the complaint, Myers subsequently admitted to law enforcement agents that the accident occurred prior the effective date of his additional coverage and that he misrepresented certain facts of the loss to Progressive. Myers was charged with one count each of Insurance Fraud (F3) and Criminal Attempt/Theft by Deception (F3).
On May 27, 2021, Lachae Bagner was arrested in Chester County.  According to the criminal complaint, on December 14, 2020, Bagner obtained an automobile policy from Progressive Insurance.  At 12:45 PM on January 9, 2021, Bagner allegedly used the insurer’s mobile app to report that her vehicle was damaged in a hit and run accident which occurred at approximately 2:00 AM on January 8, 2021. The complaint stated that Bagner submitted a photograph of the damage to the insurer. However, the photo metadata allegedly revealed that the picture was taken the day before she obtained the insurance policy. The complaint further stated that a report from responding police confirmed that the accident occurred prior to the policy inception. An investigation also allegedly revealed that Bagner made misrepresentations to the insurer when she applied for her vehicle policy.  Progressive denied the claim. Bagner was charged with one count of Insurance Fraud (F3), one count of Insurance Fraud (M1), one count of Criminal Attempt/Theft by Deception (F3) and one count of Criminal Use of a Communication Facility (F3).
On May 27, 2021, Nycia Williams was arrested in Chester County.  According to the criminal complaint, Williams’ Esurance automobile policy was cancelled for non-payment on November 10, 2020. The complaint further stated that Williams purchased a new Esurance policy for her Nissan Versa at 3:12 PM on February 11, 2021. On February 15, Williams allegedly reported to the insurer that her vehicle was involved in an accident at 4:00 PM on February 11. According to the complaint, Williams told the insurer that a vehicle struck her Nissan which caused it to strike a parked vehicle. A subsequent investigation allegedly revealed that another vehicle owner filed a claim for an accident involving Williams’ Nissan which reportedly occurred at 12:13 PM on February 11. During telephone interviews with the insurer, Williams allegedly maintained that the accident occurred at 4:00 PM and that she purchased her policy just before the loss. According to the complaint, when she was confronted with the earlier time of loss reported by the other vehicle owner, Williams admitted that the accident occurred during the morning of February 11, which was prior to the inception of her coverage. The claim was denied. Williams was charged with one count of Insurance Fraud (F3).
On May 27, 2021, Sandra Martinez-Pagan was arrested in Chester County.  According to the criminal complaint, on February 3, 2021, at 3:15 PM, Martinez-Pagan purchased a Progressive Insurance policy for her Toyota Cruiser. On February 25, Martinez-Pagan filed a claim in which she allegedly told the insurer that her Toyota struck a tree at approximately 6:00 PM on February 3, and that her vehicle was towed from the scene by Chew’s Towing. However, when investigators contacted the company, Chew’s Towing allegedly advised that the vehicle was towed at 8:00 AM on the morning of February 3, several hours prior to the inception of Martinez-Pagan’s coverage. According to the complaint, investigators also learned that police were dispatched to the scene at 6:37 AM. Progressive denied the claim. Martinez-Pagan was charged with one count of Insurance Fraud (F3).
On May 26, 2021, Danielle Glenn was arrested in Westmoreland County.  According to the criminal complaint, on November 26, 2020 at 11:14 AM, Glenn purchased a new Progressive Insurance automobile policy.  On January 27, 2021, Progressive received a subrogation demand letter from State Farm Insurance for damage to an insureds’ vehicle which allegedly was struck by Glenn’s vehicle on November 25, 2020.  The complaint stated that on February 2, 2021, Progressive took Glenn’s recorded statement in which she advised that the accident occurred between 12:00 PM and 1:00 PM on November 26.  Glenn allegedly admitted that she was at fault for the accident and stated that police were not called because no one was injured and both vehicles were drivable. According to the complaint, Glenn subsequently told an investigator that she made a mistake about the date of loss and that she had purchased her Progressive policy the day after the accident occurred. Glenn was charged with one count of Insurance Fraud (F3) and one count of Criminal Attempt/Theft by Deception (F3).
On May 24, 2021, Alexis Rodriguez-Guzman was arrested in Lancaster County.  According to the criminal complaint, on March 3, 2020, Rodriquez-Guzman purchased a Liberty Mutual Insurance Company homeowners’ policy for his residence. On July 27, Rodriguez-Guzman contacted Liberty Mutual and allegedly claimed that the roof of his home was damaged by hail on July 6.  The roof was inspected and the damage was estimated to be $7368.29. The complaint stated that on August 24, Liberty Mutual sent Rodriguez-Guzman an email which explained that the insurer would cover the replacement cost of the roof, less the amount of Rodriguez-Guzman’s policy deductible. According to the complaint, Liberty Mutual advised that the net payment to Rodriguez-Guzman would be $4,310.00, which he would receive after the roof was replaced and the insurer received an invoice indicating that the work was completed. On September 8, 2020, Rodriguez-Guzman allegedly provided Liberty Mutual with an estimate from Greenawalt Roofing Company which purportedly reflected an amount of $17,974.18. According to the complaint, the insurer contacted the roofing company and was advised that the actual estimate they had provided to Rodriguez-Guzman totaled $7,974.18. According to the complaint, a Liberty Mutual claims representative determined that the estimate provided by Rodriguez-Guzman appeared to have been altered. When Rodriguez-Guzman was interviewed by an investigator, the claimant allegedly acknowledged that he sent the email to the claims representative which contained Greenawalt Roofing Company estimate invoice.  The complaint stated that Rodriguez-Guzman maintained that the roofing company had given him the wrong invoice and he allegedly denied making any changes to it. After the investigator confronted Rodriguez-Guzman, he allegedly admitted that he had altered the invoice to reflect the $10,000.00 difference. On September 23, 2020, Liberty Mutual denied the claim. Rodriguez-Guzman was charged with one count of Insurance Fraud (F3), one count of Criminal Attempt/Theft by Deception (F3), one count of Criminal Use of a Communication Facility (F3), and one count of Forgery (F3).
On May 24, 2021, Yousef Akanan was arrested in Allegheny County.  According to the criminal complaint, Akanan paid $73,000 to his brother for a home in Johnstown, which the brother bought for $5,000 in 2016. The complaint stated that the home purportedly was renovated and furnished before Akanan purchased it. Akanan bought a Liberty Mutual Insurance homeowner policy which insured the property for $475,606.10. According to the complaint, the residence was destroyed by fire on May 30, 2016. Akanan allegedly filed a claim with Liberty Mutual for damage to the structure and contents. According to the complaint, Akanan provided the insurer with lists of property items which were lost in the fire and was paid a total of approximately $82,000 for the depreciated value of the claimed contents. During the claims process, the insurer asked Akanan to provide receipts for items that had been damaged by the fire. He allegedly provided receipts totaling $74,282.33 for purchases that he claimed to have made at a Walmart store in Somerset. In order for Akanan to recover any of the depreciation amount withheld by the insurer, Liberty Mutual asked Akanan to provide receipts for items that were purchased as replacements for those lost in the fire. According to the complaint, Akanan provided the insurer with receipts for items that he purportedly purchased from a Walmart store in Texas. As a result, Liberty Mutual paid Akanan a total of $1,129.35 in recoverable depreciation. However, the complaint further stated that when investigators contacted the Walmart stores to verify the purchases, it was determined that both sets of receipts were fraudulent. Akanan was charged with two counts of Insurance Fraud (F3), one count of Theft by Deception (F3), one count of Theft by Deception (M1), one count of Forgery (M1), and one count of Tampering with Records (M1). 
On May 19, 2021, Kayla Householder was arrested in Beaver County.  According to the criminal complaint, on January 16, 2021 at approximately 8:57 AM, Householder was driving her uninsured 2012 Ford Flex when it slid on snow and crashed, damaging the vehicle’s front end.  At approximately 12:19 PM that day, Householder contacted USAA Insurance and allegedly reinstated her previous vehicle policy which had been cancelled for non-payment in December, 2020. The complaint stated that on January 17, Householder filed a claim for the accident with USAA and stated that the loss occurred at 9:00 AM that morning. According to the complaint, USAA reviewed photos of the damage that Householder provided and noted that the photo metadata indicated that the pictures were taken at 8:57 AM on January 16. When she was interviewed by an investigator, Householder allegedly admitted to purchasing the insurance policy after the crash occurred, in an effort to have USAA cover the loss. USAA denied the claim.  Householder was charged with one count of Insurance Fraud (F3) and one count of Criminal Attempt/Theft by Deception (F3).
On May 18, 2021, Andrew King was arrested in Chester County.  According to the criminal complaint, at 6:22 PM on December 9, 2020, King purchased a Progressive Insurance policy which included collision and comprehensive coverage for his 2014 Jeep. King allegedly used Progressive’s mobile app to file an accident claim on December 11. According to the complaint, King reported that the loss occurred at 7:30 PM on December 9.  In support of his claim, King allegedly provided the insurer with photographs of the damage to his 2014 Jeep. According to the complaint, the metadata recovered from the photos revealed that they were taken at 4:24 PM on December 9, before King obtained coverage. During a recorded interview, King allegedly stated to a Progressive claims representative that his friend had been driving the car at the time of the accident. According to the complaint, King maintained that the crash occurred at approximately 7:30 PM and that he purchased his auto insurance policy about an hour earlier. An investigation allegedly revealed that King obtained vehicle coverage after the accident occurred. Progressive denied the claim. King was charged with one count of Insurance Fraud (F3) and one count of Criminal Attempt/Theft by Deception (F3).
On May 18, 2021, Amanda Muzichuck was arrested in Allegheny County.  According to the criminal complaint, on February 24, 2021, Muzichuck purchased an automobile policy from Progressive Insurance for her 2014 Toyota. The policy included comprehensive coverage with a $250.00 deductible.  On February 27, Muzichuck allegedly used the Progressive mobile app to file a claim for deer strike damage to her vehicle. According to the complaint, Muzichuck stated that the accident occurred on February 27, 2021, at 7:47 PM. She allegedly reiterated to Progressive representatives during the claims process that the loss occurred on February 27 between 7:30 PM and 7:40 PM.  The complaint further stated Muzichuck provided photographs of the damage to Progressive via the cellular telephone application.  According to the complaint, the Progressive claims handler noted that the photo metadata revealed that the pictures had been taken on February 22, which was prior to the date on which Muzichuck had obtained her coverage. When a Progressive investigator contacted Muzichuck and took her recorded statement, Muzichuck allegedly admitted that the metadata information was correct, and that the accident which damaged her vehicle occurred on February 21, 2021.  The claim was denied. Muzichuck was charged with one count of Insurance Fraud (F3) and one count of Criminal Attempt/Theft by Deception (M1).
On May 17, 2021, Edgardo Colon was arrested in Berks County.  According to the criminal complaint, Colon added a Ford F-150 to his Capital Insurance policy at 9:23 AM on January 28, 2021.  The policy contained liability coverage only.  On January 30, Colon allegedly contacted Capital and reported that his truck was involved in an accident with another vehicle at 9:45 AM on January 28. According to the complaint, an investigation revealed that the loss occurred before Colon added his Ford F-150 to the Capital Insurance policy.  The claim was denied. Colon was charged with one count of Insurance Fraud (F3) and one count of Criminal Attempt/Theft by Deception (F3).
On May 13, 2021, Dustin Heintz was arrested in Huntingdon County.  According to the criminal complaint, on September 17, 2020, Heintz filed a claim with the Progressive Insurance Company for deer strike damage to his fiancé’s 2014 Chevrolet Cruz.  In reviewing the claim, the insurer allegedly noted that the damage appeared to overlap damage from an earlier claim which was filed with Progressive on August 18, 2018. According to the complaint, Heintz told Progressive that he had repaired the damage from the 2018 loss, except for the front bumper and passenger side headlamp.  Heintz then allegedly provided the insurer with an invoice for repairs to the Cruz. According to the complaint, a Progressive representative contacted the body shop and learned that the shop did not do the work reflected on the receipt. Heintz allegedly admitted to investigators that he filed the recent claim knowing that the damage was preexisting. Progressive denied the claim.  Heintz was charged with one count of Insurance Fraud (F3) and one count of Criminal Attempt/Theft by Deception (F3).
On May 13, 2021, Timothy Rush was arrested in Snyder County.  According to the criminal complaint, Rush obtained coverage from Progressive Insurance for his camping trailer at approximately 5:33 PM on April 28, 2020. Rush subsequently filed a claim for damage to the trailer and allegedly advised the insurer that the damage occurred on April 29 at approximately 11:15 AM. Rush submitted photos of the damage to Progressive in support of his claim. According to the complaint, the metadata from the photos revealed that they were taken on the afternoon of April 28, which was prior to the time when Rush obtained the Progressive coverage. Rush allegedly claimed that he had taken the photos with his girlfriend’s camera, but submitted the photos through his cell phone. According to the complaint, he maintained that his cell phone had a problem which caused the incorrect date to be displayed. An investigation allegedly confirmed that the trailer had been damaged prior to the policy inception.  The claim was denied by Progressive. Rush was charged with one count of Insurance Fraud (F3) and one count of Theft by Deception (F3).
On May 13, 2021, Jeremiah Gibson was arrested in Lancaster County. According to the criminal complaint, between May 6, 2020 and July 30, 2020, Gibson made false statements to The Permanent General Assurance Group (The General) in support of a vehicle accident claim. The complaint stated that Gibson obtained vehicle liability coverage from the insurer on January 31, 2020, effective 5:26 PM. On May 7, he allegedly contacted The General and asked to add comprehensive and collision coverage to the policy. Gibson was advised that the additional coverage would take effect three to five days later. On July 29, Gibson allegedly used The General’s mobile app to report that his insured vehicle was damaged in an accident at approximately 9:00 PM on July 28. According to the complaint, Gibson reported that a deer struck the passenger side of his 2015 Ford Focus, causing damage to both doors and breaking off the outside mirror. Further, Gibson allegedly claimed that the rear of his vehicle was damaged when the car was pulled from a ditch. He submitted three photos to The General in support of his claim. According to the criminal complaint, the metadata from two of the photos revealed that they were taken at 7:30 PM on May 6, 2020, the evening before Gibson requested the addition of comprehensive and collision coverage to his policy. The metadata from the third photo allegedly revealed that the picture had been taken several months earlier, on March 26. According to the complaint, when a claims handler asked Gibson about the date discrepancies, Gibson maintained that the deer strike occurred at approximately 9:30 PM on July 28. When the claim handler confronted Gibson with the information obtained from the photo metadata, Gibson allegedly had no explanation. The General denied Gibson’s claim. According to the complaint, Gibson admitted to law enforcement agents that he had added comprehensive and collision coverage to the policy after the accident occurred, in an effort to get The General to cover the cost of repairing his Ford. Gibson was charged with one count of Insurance Fraud (F3), and one count of Criminal Attempt/Theft by Deception (F3).
On May 12, 2021, Hani Johnson was arrested in Philadelphia County. According to the criminal complaint, on July 13, 2019, Johnson was operating his uninsured 2015 Kia when it was involved in a four vehicle chain reaction accident.  The complaint stated that the drivers of the other vehicles reported that the crash occurred between 1:30 PM and 2:15 PM.  Further, time-stamped photos taken by one of the drivers allegedly revealed that the accident occurred prior to 2:24 PM.  The complaint stated that at 3:16 PM, Johnson called Safe Auto Insurance and purchased coverage for his 2015 Kia.  During the call, Johnson allegedly told the insurer that he had not been in any accidents during the previous three years and that there was no damage to the Kia.  According to the complaint, Johnson again contacted Safe Auto on July 15, and filed a claim for the July 13, accident.  During the course of the claim, Johnson allegedly provided several recorded statements to the insurer during which he stated that the accident occurred after 4:00 PM.  According to the complaint, Safe Auto ultimately determined that the crash occurred prior to the inception of Johnson’s policy and denied payment of his claim. Johnson was charged with one count of Insurance Fraud (F3), one count of Insurance Fraud (M1), one count of Criminal Attempt/Theft by Deception (F3), and one count of Criminal Use of a Communication Facility (F3).
On May 12, 2021, Mark Tyler was arrested in Montgomery County.  According to the criminal complaint, on October 15, 2016, Tyler was a passenger in Nikia Cromartie’s vehicle when it was involved in a hit-and-run accident.  Both Tyler and Cromartie filed claims against Erie Insurance. According to the complaint, Tyler and Cromartie made numerous false statements to the insurer. Both allegedly maintained that the driver of the other involved vehicle fled the accident scene. However, according to the complaint, an investigation revealed that the driver of the other vehicle remained at the scene and called 911 following the accident, while Cromartie drove away. Tyler was charged with two counts of Insurance Fraud (F3). Charges were previously filed against Cromartie.
On May 11, 2021, Thomas Barton was arrested in Allegheny County.  According to the criminal complaint, in March 2021, Mutual of Omaha Insurance Company agent Barton fraudulently completed and produced applications for supplemental health insurance for individuals without their knowledge or permission. The complaint stated that in one instance, one of Barton’s former elementary school classmates and her husband received cancer policies in the mail which listed Barton as the insurance producer. According to the complaint, the policies contained numerous errors pertaining to the insureds’ personal information. Barton’s childhood friend then contacted Mutual of Omaha and the policies were cancelled. The complaint further stated that another childhood acquaintance and current Facebook friend of Barton also received a Mutual of Omaha supplemental health insurance policy. When the friend asked Barton about the policy, Barton allegedly denied sending the documents and indicated that it might be a “phishing” scam. According to the complaint, Barton admitted to an investigator that he had completed the three applications for supplemental insurance by utilizing personal information of the purported applicants that he obtained from Facebook. Barton allegedly signed the applications electronically with the names of his Facebook friends. Investigators also allegedly discovered that two more fraudulent applications for supplemental insurance were submitted by Barton. According to the complaint, both applications included erroneous personal information pertaining to the purported applicants. Barton was charged with one count of Insurance Fraud (F3), two counts of Forgery (F3), one count of Identity Theft (M1), and one count of Insurance Fraud (M1).
On May 7, 2021, Isaac Pearson was arrested in Dauphin County. According to the criminal complaint, on August 5, Pearson filed an accident claim and advised Progressive Insurance that the damaged vehicle was taken to Faulkner Body Works in Harrisburg. Pearson allegedly told the insurer that Faulkner completed a report of the damages and took photos of the vehicle. Faulkner then provided the materials to Progressive. According to the complaint, Faulkner advised that the vehicle was not drivable and remained at the shop until it was towed to a different facility on August 18. Progressive denied the claim because Pearson’s policy covered liability only. The complaint further stated that Pearson contacted Progressive on August 13 and added collision coverage to the policy, effective August 18, 2020. On August 18, Pearson contacted Progressive and allegedly reported that he had been driving the vehicle during the early morning hours at the Harrisburg East Mall, when the vehicle struck a column. According to the complaint, the Progressive representative asked Pearson if he was reporting the same claim that he had filed on August 5.    Pearson allegedly maintained that he had repaired the earlier damage to the vehicle and that the vehicle was involved in a separate accident on August 18. During a subsequent recorded statement, a Progressive representative advised Pearson that the insurer had photos of the vehicle damage which were taken by Faulkner following the August 5 accident. The representative also advised that Faulkner had confirmed that the vehicle remained at the shop until it was towed on August 18. At that point, Pearson allegedly refused to answer any other questions. Progressive denied the claim.  According to the complaint, Pearson admitted to law enforcement investigators that he added coverage to the policy after his first claim was denied, then filed a new claim in an effort to get coverage for the earlier damage. Pearson was charged with one count of Insurance Fraud (F3) and one count of Criminal Attempt/Theft by Deception (F3).
On May 6, 2021, Cortney Kelley was arrested in Washington County.  According to the criminal complaint, Kelley reinstated her lapsed Progressive Insurance policy on November 6, 2020 at 11:43 AM.  During the process, Kelley allegedly stated to the insurer that she had not been involved in any losses during the lapse period. The complaint stated that at 7:35 PM, Kelley contacted Progressive and reported that her vehicle was involved in an accident at approximately 1:00 PM that afternoon. Progressive asked Kelley to provide photos of the damage. According to the complaint, Progressive found that the metadata on the photos indicated that they were taken between 7:49 AM and 8:25 AM that morning. Kelley allegedly admitted to investigators that the accident occurred before she reinstated her coverage. Progressive denied the claim. Kelley was charged with one count of Insurance Fraud (F3), one count of Criminal Attempt/Theft by Deception (F3), and one count of Insurance Fraud (M1).
On May 5, 2021, Sharon Powell was arrested in Westmoreland County.  According to the criminal complaint, on August 10, 2020, Powell contacted Maxim Crane and reported that her Winnebago was struck by one of the company’s vehicles earlier that day. Maxim Crane allegedly denied that the accident had occurred, but reported the call to its carrier, Zurich Insurance. According to the complaint, Powell claimed to have taken the Winnebago to KRV Repair and provided an estimate to Zurich Insurance in the amount of $6,039.88. Powell allegedly stated to the investigator that she used her credit card to pay the repair bill. The complaint further stated that Powell provided the investigator with a statement from a purported witness to the accident, as well as a police accident report.  According to the complaint, an investigation revealed that the estimate, witness statement and police report were all fraudulent. Powell was charged with one count of Insurance Fraud (F3), one count of Criminal Attempt/Theft by Deception (F3), one count of Criminal Use of a Communication Facility (F3), one count of Identity Theft (F3), one count of Forgery (M1), and one count of Impersonating a Public Servant (M2).
On May 5, 2021 Sade Cruz and Naeem Toler were arrested in Montgomery County.  According to the criminal complaint, on April 28, 2020, at 3:14 PM, Cruz reported to Progressive Insurance via the insurer’s mobile app that she was driving her 2010 Honda when it was involved in a crash with another vehicle at approximately 1:00 PM on April 28, 2020. Cruz allegedly claimed that Toler was riding with her in the car when the accident occurred. According to the complaint, Cruz told the insurer that when police arrived at the accident scene, she reported that the driver of the other involved vehicle refused to provide any insurance information and left before the police arrived. According to the complaint, Progressive contacted the driver of the other involved vehicle. The other driver allegedly told the insurer that following the accident, she provided her phone number to a male who got out of Cruz’s vehicle.  According to the complaint, the other driver reported that she and the male took photos of the accident and waited a few minutes for the police to arrive. Then the other driver allegedly advised the male that she was late for an appointment and had to leave. The complaint stated that when a Progressive representative spoke with Toler, he maintained that Cruz was driving and that he was a passenger in her car. During a subsequent interview, Cruz allegedly admitted to the insurer that she was not in the vehicle when the crash occurred. Toler also allegedly admitted that Cruz had not been involved in the accident and that he had been driving her car when the accident occurred.  Cruz and Toler were each charged with one count of Insurance Fraud (F3), one count of Criminal Attempt/Theft by Deception (F3), one count of Criminal Use of a Communication Facility (F3), one count of Unlawful Use of a Computer, and one count of Criminal Conspiracy (F3).
On May 27, 2021, Jalene Goods was sentenced in Allegheny County after entering a negotiated plea to one count of Criminal Attempt/Theft by Deception (M1).  On May 16, 2020, Goods filed a claim with Progressive Insurance in which she reported that her vehicle was rear-ended at a drive-thru restaurant and sustained damage to its trunk and rear bumper. Progressive noted that the insurer had paid a similar claim for damage to Goods’ vehicle in September 2019.  Goods told Progressive that the prior damage had been repaired by a local body shop. She provided the insurer with copies of the purported repair invoices. However, investigators could not locate the body shop and determined that it did not exist. License plate reader photos of Goods’ vehicle revealed that the damage to the trunk and bumper was not repaired following the September 2019 accident. Progressive denied the claim.  Goods was ordered to serve 24 months of probation, perform 100 hours of community service and pay court costs.
On May 13, 2021, Edward Bickings was sentenced in Montgomery County after entering a negotiated plea to one count of Insurance Fraud (M1).  On August 28, 2019, Bickings contacted GEICO to add comprehensive and collision coverage to his existing car insurance policy. In so doing he reported that his car had not been in an accident or suffered damage previously.  In reality, however, his car had suffered water damage, for which Bickings later unsuccessfully attempted to file a claim.  Bickings was ordered to serve two years of probation and to pay the costs of prosecution.
On May 13, 2021, Naresh Aryal was sentenced in Dauphin County after entering a negotiated plea to one count of Insurance Fraud (M1) and one count of Criminal Attempt/Theft by Deception (M1). On November 12, 2019, Aryal obtained a MetLife personal auto insurance policy. On November 19, 2019, Aryal contacted Metlife and reported that his vehicle sustained damage to the front bumper and driver’s side headlight area, while parked at a family member’s residence overnight between November 17, 2019 and November 18, 2019. Aryal claimed that he discovered the damage at approximately 9 AM on November 18, 2019. On November 26, 2019, Aryal contacted Metlife regarding the status of his claim. During the phone call, Aryal maintained that his vehicle had no damage prior to the accident. During the claim investigation, MetLife discovered that one of Aryal’s family members filed a claim with Erie Insurance for damage to the same vehicle on November 2, 2019. A comparison of photos from both claims revealed that the damage visible in the Erie claim was also present in the later MetLife claim photos. Aryal subsequently withdrew his claim. Aryal was ordered to serve one year of probation and perform 50 hours of community service. He was further ordered to pay $250.00 in penalties, pay a fine of $50.00, and pay court costs.
(ARD) Dispositions

During the month of May, three additional defendants received Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD). 

Anti-Fraud Compliance - Reporting of insurance Fraud to Law Enforcement Agency

Pennsylvania Bulletin Notice 2016-04 (issued April 30, 2016) reminded insurers of their obligations to report suspected arson or insurance fraud to law enforcement agencies within the Commonwealth.  The bulletin also announced a decision by the Pennsylvania Department of Insurance to allow licensees to satisfy their reporting obligation when they electronically submit reports of suspected fraud to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB).
 
On July 6, 2017, Pennsylvania began participating in this online service which enables member companies to electronically forward reports of suspected fraud to the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General’s Insurance Fraud Section or other appropriate law enforcement agencies at the same time the companies report suspicious claims to the NICB. NOTE: The NICB is not a law enforcement agency. Therefore, a licensee cannot satisfy the fraud reporting requirement by submitting a non-electronic (paper) referral only to the NICB.
 
Important: When utilizing electronic filing through NICB, users should take careful note of the provided instructions regarding the “Party” to a claim.  Information entered about a Party will only be transmitted to law enforcement if users select one of two options: “This Party was subject to an SIU investigation” or “This Party was subject to an enforcement action.”  Some users have missed this notation about individual Party data and consequently have submitted incomplete information to law enforcement.

This newsletter was produced by the PA Office of Attorney General’s Insurance Fraud Section and edited by Senior Deputy Attorney General John T. Dickinson.

Copyright © 2018 Office of Attorney General 
All rights reserved.


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