Copy
View this email in your browser
June 2021
Arrests  |  Convictions  | Submit a Referral

Ohio Businessman and Restoration Company Sentenced in Cumberland County

On June 8, 2021, Daniel Sechriest and his business, U.S. Restoration and Remodeling, Inc., were sentenced in Cumberland County after Sechriest entered negotiated “no contest” pleas on behalf of the Ohio based business and Sechriest, to one count each of Insurance Fraud (F3), Forgery (F3), and Criminal Use of a Communication Facility (F3). An investigation revealed that from March 1, 2014 through March 1, 2017, Sechriest submitted inflated estimates and receipts to insurers for storm-related home repairs and restoration work. The estimates and receipts were submitted by the company to Erie Insurance and Encompass Insurance in support of homeowner damage claims. Many of the homeowners maintained that the submissions reflected work that had not been completed or was not performed at all. As a result of the fraudulent submissions, Sechriest and U.S. Restoration and Remodeling obtained more in claim proceeds from the insurers than they were entitled to receive. Sechriest was sentenced to serve concurrent terms of 6-23 months of incarceration. He was further ordered to pay a $5000.00 fine and all costs. The defendant company was ordered to serve a total of two years of probation and to pay all costs.
(NO PHOTO) On June 29, 2021, Syreeta Johnson was arrested in Montgomery County.  According to the criminal complaint, on February 18, 2018, Johnson was injured while working at The Horsham Clinic.  Johnson allegedly stopped working the following day due to her injuries. She subsequently filed for Workers’ Compensation benefits and began to receive payments in the amount of $681.22 per week. The complaint stated that on October 25, 2018, Johnson was medically cleared to return to work on modified duty, but the employer was unable to make appropriate accommodations. According to the complaint, Johnson began working full-time at a job in Georgia on September 10, 2019, but continued to receive total disability benefits. The complaint further stated that Johnson failed to notify the insurer of her change in employment status. Moreover, she allegedly submitted an official form to her claims administrator indicating that she was not working and had not worked since she was injured on the job in 2018. The complaint stated that an investigation eventually revealed that Johnson unlawfully received $21,799.04 in total disability benefits after she began working in Georgia. Johnson was charged with one count of Theft by Deception (F3) and three counts of Workers Compensation Fraud (F3).
On June 23, 2021, Danielle Bobby was arrested in Jefferson County.  According to the criminal complaint, between 2:00 PM and 3:00 PM on December 4, 2020, Bobby’s daughter was operating Bobby’s uninsured 2005 Jeep when it rear-ended another vehicle, causing approximately $3,688.22 in damage. The complaint stated that Bobby subsequently went online and obtained coverage for the Jeep from The General. The policy took effect at 12:31 AM on December 5, 2020. Bobby allegedly indicated on the application that the Jeep had not been involved in any prior accidents.  On December 16, 2020, Bobby filed a claim in which she allegedly reported that the Jeep was involved in a crash after the policy took effect on December 5, 2020. Investigators subsequently obtained a copy of a body shop estimate that was prepared for the owner of the other involved vehicle. The estimate allegedly revealed that the accident had occurred on December 4, a day before Bobby’s policy took effect. During an in-person interview with investigators, Bobby allegedly admitted that she deliberately provided the insurer with the wrong accident date, in hopes that The General would cover the loss. The General denied the claim. Bobby 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 June 16, 2021, Kyle Vanderkamp was arrested in Washington County.  According to the criminal complaint, On December 16, 2020, Vanderkamp phoned Progressive Insurance and added a 2002 Mercedes to his automobile policy.  On December 17, at 6:25 PM, Vanderkemp allegedly contacted Progressive again and asked the insurer to reduce the comprehensive and collision policy deductible on his 2016 Lincoln MKZ from $1,000 to $500. The complaint further stated that Vanderkemp also added a loan/lease payoff provision to his policy. On January 4, 2021, Vanderkemp contacted the insurer and allegedly reported that his Lincoln was involved in a single vehicle accident between 6:00 PM and 6:30 PM on December 17, 2020. According to the complaint, Vanderkemp provided recorded statements to Progressive in which he maintained that the accident occurred after he made the recent changes to his policy. However, investigators obtained copies of tow records which allegedly revealed that the loss occurred before Vanderkemp made the changes. On January 20, 2021, a Progressive investigator spoke with Vanderkemp, who allegedly admitted that he changed the policy after the accident occurred. Progressive denied the claim in full. Vanderkamp is charged with one count of Insurance Fraud (F3) and one count of Criminal Attempt/The by Deception (F3).
On June 10, 2021, Khaled A. Hussain was arrested in Delaware County.  According to the criminal complaint, on February 18, 2020, Progressive Insurance Company initiated a claim with Capitol Insurance for an accident involving Hussain’s 2016 Toyota Highlander. According to the complaint, the Toyota struck another vehicle at approximately 10:51 PM on Sunday, January 26, 2020. The complaint stated that Hussain’s Capitol policy listed him as the only driver of the Toyota. During a February 19 recorded statement, Hussain allegedly told a Capitol claims representative that he was operating the Toyota when it was struck by the other involved vehicle. However, according to the complaint, a Capitol representative reviewed a copy of the police accident report and discovered that Hussain’s cousin was driving the Toyota when the collision occurred. Hussain is charged with one count of Insurance Fraud (F3), one count of Theft by Deception (F3), and one count of Criminal Use of Communication Facility (F3).
On June 8, 2021, Shannon Rowles was arrested in Clearfield County.  According to the criminal complaint, Rowles contacted the Sutton insurance agency and obtained an Allstate Insurance automobile policy for her 2010 Dodge Caliber. The policy took effect on July 29, 2020.  The complaint stated that Rowles’ policy did not include comprehensive or collision coverage. On September 25, 2020, Rowles filed a claim with Allstate Insurance in which she allegedly reported that her vehicle struck a deer. According to the complaint, the claims representative then informed Rowles that her policy did not include comprehensive or collision coverage.  The complaint further stated that on September 28, 2020, at 12:43 PM, Rowles contacted the Sutton Agency and added that coverage.  Later that same day, Rowles went online and filed a claim with Allstate Insurance in which she allegedly reported that her vehicle struck a deer while she was driving home from work.  According to the complaint, an Allstate representative reviewed the record log and noted that Rowles had filed a deer strike claim on September 25, before she added comprehensive and collision to the policy. Allstate denied the claim. Rowles is charged with one count of Insurance Fraud (F3), and one count of Criminal Attempt/Theft by Deception (F3).
On June 8, 2021, Caprice McCarthy was arrested in Tioga County.  According to the criminal complaint, on January 10, 2017, a UPMC health insurance policy was obtained through the federal marketplace for McCarthy’s child. The policy had an effective date of February 1, 2017. The complaint stated that although McCarthy resided in Tioga County, the UPMC application for her son’s coverage listed his home address as being in Centre County. According to the complaint, UPMC offers health insurance in the western part of Pennsylvania, which includes Centre County but not Tioga County. The complaint further stated that UPMC determined that McCarthy’s son had been living in Florida during the time in which he received UPMC insurance benefits. Moreover, UPMC allegedly determined that when McCarthy’s son did live in Pennsylvania, he resided at McCarthy’s home in Tioga County. According to the complaint, an investigation revealed that the Centre County address used on the UPMC health insurance application corresponded to a post office box located inside a UPS store in State College. UPMC sent a letter to McCarthy’s home, notifying her that her son’s coverage would be cancelled. According to the complaint, McCarthy emailed UPMC copies of a fictitious lease and an altered driver’s license, which purportedly indicated that her son lived at the Centre County address. When she was interviewed by investigators, McCarthy allegedly admitted that she had applied for UPMC health insurance for her son and that she sent the fictitious lease to UPMC. McCarthy was charged with one count of Insurance Fraud (F3), one count of Theft by Deception (F1), one count of Criminal Attempt/Theft by Deception (F1), one count of Insurance Fraud (M1), one count of Tampering with Records/Identification (M1), and one count of Criminal Use of Communication Facility (F3).
On June 3, 2021, Laura Guest was arrested in Chester County.  According to the criminal complaint, On October 26, 2017, an employee of Guest’s company suffered a workplace injury.   At the time, the business allegedly did not have an active Workers’ Compensation insurance policy.   The complaint stated that Guest subsequently applied to AIG Insurance for a Workers’ Compensation policy and did not disclose to the insurer that one of the company’s employees was recently injured on the job. According to the complaint, when the injured employee realized that he required additional medical treatment, he asked Guest’s husband for a Worker’s Compensation claim number. Guest’s husband allegedly refused and instead instructed the employee to use his private medical insurance. According to the complaint, an investigation revealed that Guest had allowed the company’s Worker’s Compensation insurance coverage to lapse and had failed to provide coverage for employees from August 12, 2017, through October 27, 2017.  The complaint further stated that in an effort to obtain coverage for the injured employee’s medical expenses, Guest asked the employee and his spouse to lie about the date of the injury.  Guest was charged with one count of Insurance Fraud (F3), one count of Insurance Fraud (M1), one count of Criminal Attempt/Theft by Deception (F3), 75 counts of Failure to Carry Workers Compensation Insurance (M3), 75 counts of Failure to Carry Workers Compensation Insurance (F3), and one count of Workers Compensation Fraud (F3).
On June 25, 2021, Kaylee Welch was sentenced in McKean County after entering a negotiated plea to one count of Criminal Attempt/Theft by Deception (M1).  On February 29, 2020, Welch was driving her 2013 Escape when a deer struck the driver’s side of the vehicle and caused it to crash into a tree. The resulting damage was valued at approximately $7,961.35. On March 2, 2020, Welch obtained a Progressive Insurance vehicle policy.  Welch filed a claim with Progressive on March 6, in which she reported that the accident had occurred on March 5. Welch told the insurer that the vehicle had no prior damage.  However, investigators obtained footage from a neighbor’s security camera which revealed that the damage to Welch’s Escape was present on February 29, 2020, before she obtained insurance coverage. During a subsequent interview, Welch admitted that she obtained the Progressive Insurance policy after the accident occurred. Welch was ordered to perform 150 hours of community service in order to have probation reduced from nine to six months, and was ordered to pay all court costs.
On June 23, 2021, Donavon White was sentenced in Mercer County after entering a negotiated plea to one count of Criminal Attempt/Theft by Deception (M1).  On November 18, 2019, White’s spouse purchased a Kemper Preferred auto policy.  On June 3, 2020, Donavan White reported to the insurer that the couple’s 2012 Dodge Charger struck a deer on June 1, damaging the vehicle’s front end.  Kemper determined that White’s spouse previously filed a claim for deer strike damage to the front end of the same car. Kemper paid $3,524.09 to the Whites for that claim. When a Kemper representative contacted Donavan White about the June 2020 claim, White maintained that he repaired the vehicle following the 2019 accident. Kemper retained a Traffic Collision Reconstructionist to review the 2020 claim. The expert concluded that the damage could not have been caused under the reported circumstances and that the damage appeared to be similar to that of the 2019 claim. An investigation revealed that the Dodge Charger had not been repaired following the 2019 loss. White was sentenced to 24 months of probation and ordered to pay all costs.
On June 8, 2021, Benjamin Ploski was sentenced in Westmoreland County after entering a negotiated plea to one count of Insurance Fraud (F3) and one count of Criminal Attempt/Theft by Deception (F3).   On June 5, 2020 at 12:11 PM, Ploski was driving his vehicle when it struck an unoccupied parked vehicle.  Ploski notified the parked vehicle’s owner and admitted that he did not have insurance.  At 4:51 PM that same day, Ploski obtained an insurance policy for his vehicle from Capitol Insurance.  On June 8, 2020, Ploski provided a recorded statement to the insurer in which he claimed that the accident had occurred on June 6 at 12:00 PM, after he obtained the policy.  However, a forensic examination of security video footage revealed that the accident occurred on June 5, prior to the inception of Ploski’s coverage. Capitol Insurance denied payment of the claim. Ploski was sentenced to serve 6-23 months of incarceration, ordered to perform 50 hours of community service, and pay all costs.
On June 10, 2021, Amy Parson was sentenced in Butler County after entering a negotiated plea to one count of Criminal Attempt/Theft by Deception (M1).  On August 11, 2019, Parson went to the Progressive Insurance website and cancelled her comprehensive and collision vehicle coverage. She reinstated the coverage on September 26. The next day, Parson filed an online vehicle accident claim. Parson advised the insurer that the accident occurred after she reinstated her coverage. Investigators reviewed police, fire rescue, and tow reports pertaining to the loss and ultimately determined that the crash happened before the coverage was in place. Progressive denied the claim. Parson was ordered to serve 30 months of probation, perform 50 hours of community service, and pay costs.
On June 3, 2021, Stefan Sweeney was sentenced in Washington County after entering a negotiated plea to one count of Insurance Fraud (F3). At 7:15 AM on April 2, 2018, Sweeney obtained a liability policy from Progressive Insurance for his 2006 Lincoln truck. During the application process, Sweeney told the insurer that he had not been involved in any prior accidents. At 12:30 PM that day, Sweeney again contacted the insurer and advised that an unknown vehicle had damaged his truck while it was parked at a gas and oil work site. Sweeney claimed that the impact pushed his truck into a parked vehicle owned by his supervisor. Sweeney maintained that he discovered the damage after he obtained his Progressive policy. However, the supervisor confirmed that the accident occurred earlier, before Sweeney’s policy took effect. Progressive denied the claim. Sweeney was sentenced to serve 9-23 months of incarceration and ordered to pay all costs.
(ARD) Dispositions

During the month of June, twelve 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.


Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.