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11arrested in $85,000 insurance fraud scheme


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE:  March 30, 2015
CONTACT PERSON: Emily H. Harris- 610.891.4163

Media, Pa – Today Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan announced that 11 individuals, including a Darby borough auto body shop owner, are facing felony charges for an elaborate auto insurance fraud scheme that involved enhancing damage to vehicles and filing false insurance claims.

The announcement comes after a four-year-long investigation by the Delaware County Criminal Investigation Division (CID) Insurance Fraud Unit. The investigation focused on Franklin Thomas Wilson, 45, of Middletown, DE, owner of Transformers Collision Specialist located at 1006 Summit Street in Darby Borough. Over several years, the actors established a pattern of filing fraudulent claims with insurers that would fall into various scenarios, including vehicular damages from accidents, the use of luxury cars in staged collisions to generate large settlement checks, theft of vehicular parts such as tires, and enhanced damages that would compensate for waived deductibles.

The charges Wilson and his co-conspirators face charge for defrauding insurance companies out of $85,000 include insurance fraud, conspiracy of insurance fraud, communications device, conspiracy theft by deception, theft by deception, unsworn falsification, conspiracy receiving stolen property, receiving stolen property, corrupt organization and criminal mischief.

In June 2011, Det. Larry Patterson and Det. William Wright met with an individual who had knowledge of insurance fraud occurring at Transformers Collison Specialist in Darby. That individual, a confidential informant, told detectives that over the time that they knew Frank Wilson, he was committing insurance fraud by enhancing damage to vehicles and profiting from the insurance claims.

According the confidential informant, Wilson would meet with customers and give them an estimate for their damaged vehicles. After the customers gave Wilson permission to work on their vehicles, he would then damage their vehicle further. Wilson would often take the vehicles to an empty garage, located at 850 Summit Street, across the street from Darby Borough Police Department. Once inside the garage, Wilson would drive the vehicle into a pole or beam to cause more damage. He would also use a fork lift to damage the vehicles. Wilson would cause the enhanced damage to the vehicles before an insurance adjuster would examine the vehicles.

After the insurance claim was approved and paid, Wilson would fix the damage at a much lower cost and keep the remaining balance of the insurance money. On occasion, Wilson would pay a third party a percentage of the profits if they had recommended the customer to him.

In one case, a driver of a Mercedes Benz CLS500 reported a hit-and-run accident to Progressive Insurance which he claimed occurred on Saturday, June 8, 2011. Vernon White, the driver of the damaged Mercedes, which was owned by his girlfriend Shakeya Miles, claimed the accident caused extensive damage to the driver’s side of the vehicle. After reporting the accident to Philadelphia Police, White was consequently interviewed by police along with the three passengers that were in the vehicle, all who confirmed the details of the accident. Following the police report, Progressive Insurance contracted WJM Technical Accident Services to perform an expert analysis of the vehicle. Based on a reasonable degree of scientific certainty and accident reconstruction experience, the surveyor found that the damage on the Mercedes was completely opposed to what would have been caused by a pickup truck hitting the left side of the vehicle, as described by White.

In addition, surveillance by CID detectives revealed that on Friday June 7, 2011, the day before the reported accident, the silver Mercedes Benz CLS500 arrived and parked in front of the garage owned by Frank Wilson, located at 850 Summit St. On the morning of Saturday, June 8, 2011, detectives observed Wilson drive the Mercedes out of the garage at 9:39 am and then back in at 10:05 am. At that time there was no damage to the driver’s side of the vehicle. Less than hour later, when White arrived to pick up the Mercedes from the garage, detectives observed extensive damage to the entire driver’s side of the vehicle.  In total, Progressive Insurance paid out $13,757 for the repairs to the Mercedes.

In another case, the owner of a 2011 Nissan Maxima filed an insurance claim with Nationwide after he discovered all of the four tires from the parked vehicle were missing and there was damage to the front bumper and grill areas. The owner of the vehicle, Jamar Grant, was paid a total of $6,321 for the replacement of the wheels and the repair to damage of the vehicle that was reported on April 16, 2014. On the same day that theft was reported, surveillance by detectives at Transformers Collision Specialists at 1006 Summit St., revealed that the 2011 Nissan Maxima had all four tires intact, however, less than an hour later when the vehicle exited the garage, driven by Wilson, the Maxima was being operated on four spare “doughnut” tires.

According to District Attorney Jack Whelan, insurance fraud is a crime with sweeping implications that victimizes insurance companies and policy holders who are forced to take on the unnecessary burden of higher premiums. "These individuals engaged in extensive deception and racketeering and their actions directly hurt providers, policy holders and Delaware County residents. I would like to commend Det. Larry Patterson of the CID Insurance Fraud Unit who led the investigation and the other detectives who assisted with this complicated, time consuming case that required a great deal of effort and patience. Deputy District Attorney George Dawson will be prosecuting the case.”

Over the past decade, the total potential loss to victims of insurance fraud exceeds $4 million in Delaware County alone. With the goal to investigate fraudulent claims and aggressively prosecute violators, the Delaware County District Attorney’s Criminal Investigation Division has an insurance fraud unit comprised of a team of specialists who handle complex insurance fraud prosecutions from inception to sentencing.

Since 2000, the Office of the District Attorney has been the recipient of a grant from the Pennsylvania Insurance Fraud Prevention Authority (IFPA). Insurance fraud referrals are received from a number of different sources including insurance carriers, businesses, employees, concerned citizens and local law enforcement agencies. If you suspect someone is committing insurance fraud, please contact the Insurance Fraud Unit at 610-891-4126.

Frank Thomas Wilson is charged with eight counts of insurance fraud, six counts of conspiracy of insurance fraud, attempted theft by deception, four counts of conspiracy theft by deception, five counts of theft by deception, corrupt organization, three counts of criminal mischief, four counts of conspiracy of receiving stolen property and five counts of receiving stolen property.

Vernon White, 34, of the 1500 block of 53rd St, Philadelphia, is charged with insurance fraud, conspiracy of insurance fraud, communications device, conspiracy theft by deception, theft by deception, unsworn falsification, conspiracy receiving stolen property, receiving stolen property

Shakeya Miles, 32, of the 1900 block of Fontage Rd., Cherry Hill, NJ, is charged with insurance fraud, conspiracy of insurance fraud, conspiracy theft by deception, theft by deception, unsworn falsification, conspiracy receiving stolen property, receiving stolen property

Nicole Walton, 41, of the 3900 block of City Ave., Philadelphia is charged with insurance fraud, conspiracy of insurance fraud, conspiracy theft by deception, theft by deception, unsworn falsification, conspiracy receiving stolen property, criminal mischief

Pamela Fields, 51, of the 1100 block of 52nd St., Philadelphia, is charged with conspiracy of insurance fraud, unsworn falsification

Letisha Johnson, 44, of the 7600 block of Woodcrest Ave., Philadelphia is charged with insurance fraud, conspiracy of insurance fraud, communications device, conspiracy theft by deception

Tywana Neal, 36, of the 300 block of Kingwood Rd., King of Prussia is charged with insurance fraud, conspiracy of insurance fraud, communications device, conspiracy theft by deception,  theft by deception, receiving stolen property,

Adiaha Bell, 32, of the 3400 block of Red Lion Rd., Philadelphia, with insurance fraud, conspiracy of insurance fraud, communications device, theft by deception, receiving stolen property

Conchetta Edwards, 58, of the 2100 block of Cecil St., Philadelphia, is charged conspiracy of insurance fraud and unsworn falsification
 
Jamar Grant, 27, of the 7500 block of Woodcrest Ave., Philadelphia is charged with insurance fraud, conspiracy of insurance fraud, communications device, conspiracy theft by deception, unsworn falsification, conspiracy receiving stolen property, receiving stolen property

Ashely Wilson, 26, of the 300 block of Highland Ave., Darby Township is charged with insurance fraud, conspiracy of insurance fraud, communications device, conspiracy theft by deception,  theft by deception, conspiracy receiving stolen property, receiving stolen property