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Attorney General Kane announces 20 insurance fraud arrests

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HARRISBURG — Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane today announced the arrest of 20 individuals across the Commonwealth for a variety of unrelated insurance fraud offenses.

The arrests were made throughout the month of June and were the result of investigations by the Office of Attorney General’s Insurance Fraud Section. The Insurance Fraud Section is the largest law enforcement entity in Pennsylvania with specific authority to investigate and prosecute such crimes.

“Insurance fraud affects everyone, whether it’s through increased insurance rates or more costly goods and services,” Attorney General Kane said. “It is crucial that we investigate and prosecute those who seek to take advantage of the system.”

The arrests announced today involve some of the most common types of insurance fraud. Below is a list of the defendants, the charges against them and a description of their alleged criminal acts.

Western Region

Dana C. Garner ,21, 3618 N. Camac St., Philadelphia, was charged June 24 with one count each of insurance fraud and criminal attempt to commit theft by deception. The Insurance Fraud Section started an investigation of Garner after receiving a referral from Progressive Insurance. The investigation revealed that Garner in September 2014 allegedly obtained a new policy with Progressive and submitted a claim four days later stating that she was in an accident involving a deer in Indiana Borough, Indiana County. A police report later showed the accident allegedly occurred two days before Garner obtained the new policy. An arrest warrant was obtained June 24 for Garner and she is considered a fugitive.

Jamie Lynne Malloy ,21, 693 Shaffer Road, Hookstown, Beaver County, was arrested June 16 and charged with one count each of insurance fraud and criminal attempt to commit theft by deception. The Insurance Fraud Section started its investigation of Malloy after receiving a referral from Progressive Insurance. Agents learned Malloy in December 2014 obtained a new insurance policy. On the same evening she obtained the new policy, agents reported Malloy submitted a claim roughly an hour later saying she was involved in an accident in Raccoon Township, Beaver County. The investigation revealed Malloy allegedly obtained the new policy only moments after the accident had occurred. Malloy was released on her own recognizance after a preliminary arraignment.

Catherine Ann Fisher , 40, 3019 Zuck Road, Erie, Erie County, was arrested June 25 and charged with one count each of insurance fraud and criminal attempt to commit theft by deception. The investigation of Fisher commenced after the Insurance Fraud Section received a referral from Capitol Insurance Company. Agents reported that Fisher in September 2014 submitted a claim relating to a two-vehicle accident that occurred four days earlier. Fisher allegedly reported that she was driving the vehicle and her son, whose license was suspended, was a passenger. But the investigation revealed that her son was in fact the driver of the vehicle, agents reported. Fisher’s bail was set at $10,000 unsecured.

Michelle Dawn Taylor , 42, 6315 Saint Marie St., Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, was charged June 19 with two counts of insurance fraud and one count of criminal attempt to commit theft by deception. Taylor was investigated after the Insurance Fraud Section received a referral from Safe Auto Insurance Company. Agents said they learned Taylor in August 2014 called the insurance company to obtain a new policy because her past coverage had lapsed. Less than two hours after obtaining the new policy, Taylor again called the insurance company and allegedly said she was in an accident that occurred 45 minutes earlier. The investigation proved that claim to be false, agents reported. They said Taylor had actually been in the accident roughly 45 minutes before she called to obtain a new policy. An arrest warrant for Taylor was obtained June 25 and she is considered a fugitive.

Michael R. Haluska , 35, 954 Brush Mountain Road, Hollidaysburg, Blair County, was arrested June 24 and charged with one count each of insurance fraud and criminal attempt to commit theft by deception. The investigation of Haluska was initiated after the Insurance Fraud Section received a referral from Donegal Insurance Company. Haluska reported to his insurance company that his parked vehicle had been involved in a hit-and-run accident in February 2014. A vehicle appraiser later discovered the damage on the vehicle actually stemmed from an earlier incident in which Haluska allegedly attempted to submit a claim through State Farm Insurance. Further investigation also confirmed the reported damage was the same in both insurance claims, agents said. Bail for Haluska was set at $50,000 unsecured.

Chelsey Ruth Waugaman , 26, 903 Alberts Drive, West Mifflin, Allegheny County, was arrested June 18 and charged with two counts of insurance fraud and one count of criminal attempt to commit theft by deception. The investigation of Waugaman started after the Insurance Fraud Section received a referral from Safe Auto Insurance Company. Agents learned Waugaman called to reinstate her auto insurance policy in late May 2014 after it had lapsed a month earlier because of non-payment. Agents said the investigation showed Waugaman was involved in an accident roughly 20 minutes before she called to obtain a new policy. Bail for Waugaman was set at $5,000 unsecured.

Bryan Cherry , 31, 239 Burton Ave., Washington, Washington County, was arrested June 18 and charged with one count each of insurance fraud and criminal attempt to commit theft by deception. Cherry was investigated after the Insurance Fraud Section received a referral from Safe Auto Insurance Company. The investigation revealed Cherry in July 2014 obtained an insurance policy through Safe Auto. Cherry later reported to the company that he was involved in an accident roughly 20 minute after obtaining the policy, agents allege. An insurance adjuster later determined the accident in fact occurred roughly two hours before Cherry called to purchase the new policy, according to agents. Cherry’s bail was set at $10,000 unsecured.

Jason L. Bergman, 31, and Sheana M. Bergman, 31, 1601 Clubhouse Circle, Washington, Washington County, were both arrested June 18 and charged with two counts each of insurance fraud and one count of criminal attempt to commit theft by deception. In April of last year, the Bergmans made a claim to AIICO/Omni Insurance stating Sheana was involved in a minor accident approximately three weeks earlier, according to agents. Jason and Sheana allegedly provided recorded statements that Sheana was backing up a ramp in Pittsburgh when she struck another vehicle. The investigation revealed Jason, who was an excluded driver on the insurance policy, was in fact driving the vehicle when the accident occurred, agents allege. Bail for the defendants was set at $10,000 unsecured each.

Bethany Jean Byer , 26, 307 Cherry Lane, Johnstown, Cambria County, was arrested June 26 and charged with one count each of insurance fraud, forgery and violation of the controlled substances, drugs, device and cosmetic act. Byer was receiving care from a doctor after a knee injury and received a prescription for oxycodone. During one visit to her doctor, Byer allegedly took blank prescriptions that she found in a desk drawer. She used those prescriptions to obtain approximately 1,560 oxycodone pills, agents allege. She also is accused of writing prescriptions in the name of herself, her husband, mother, father and sister. She allegedly forged her doctor’s name and the prescriptions were processed through the insurance companies on file for the various individuals. Byer’s bail was set at $25,000 unsecured.

Richard Vaughn Clark IV , 20, 705 Elk Ave., Clearfield, Clearfield County, was arrested June 22 and charged with one count each of insurance fraud and criminal attempt to commit theft by deception. The Insurance Fraud Section assumed jurisdiction of the case following a referral from USAA Insurance. The investigation showed Clark had obtained an insurance policy for his vehicle in August 2014. A day after obtaining the policy, Clark allegedly reported a claim in which he stated he had rear-ended another vehicle that day. The investigation showed the accident actually occurred hours before Clark called to obtain the insurance policy, agents allege. Clark’s bail was set at $25,000 unsecured.

David W. Barnes , 48, 919 Sunshine Ave., Central City, Somerset County, was arrested June 19 and charged with one count each of insurance fraud and criminal attempt to commit theft by deception. The investigation of Barnes was initiated after a referral from Nationwide Insurance. It was discovered that Barnes in March 2014 had called to obtain comprehensive coverage for his automobile. Less than an hour after the call, he filed a claim stating his vehicle was damaged by fire in Dallas, West Virginia, agents allege. Investigators also reported the local fire department responded to a fire involving Barnes’ vehicle roughly 30 minutes before he placed the call to obtain comprehensive coverage. Barnes was released on his own recognizance following his preliminary arraignment.

John Anthony Lowry , 31, 2024 Second St., Connellsville, Fayette County, was arrested June 22 and charged with one count each of workers’ compensation fraud and theft by deception. According to a criminal complaint, in February 2014 Lowry suffered a wrist injury while working for Laurel Highlands Restoration Services. Six months later, a doctor ordered Lowry to remain off work while he underwent physical therapy. Agents allege that Lowry instead began working for another restoration company. He allegedly cashed five workers’ compensation benefits checks totaling $4,151. Lowry’s bail was set at $5,000 unsecured.

Emilee Jane Plum , 21, 522 Third Ave., Apt. 1, New Brighton, Beaver County, was arrested June 25 and charged with two counts of insurance fraud and one count of criminal attempt to commit theft by deception. In January, Plum’s insurance policy with Progressive Insurance was cancelled because of non-payment. A day after the policy was cancelled, agents said Plum called to reinstate it. Roughly 90 minutes later, she reported a claim with Progressive in which she allegedly said she had been in a two-vehicle accident an hour earlier. Plum submitted photographs of her vehicle’s damage to the insurance company, but the metadata on the photos showed they were actually taken less than an hour before she reinstated her policy, agents allege. Plum’s bail was set at $2,500 unsecured.

Central Region

David Lee Stewart Jr. , 36, 4105 Beechwood Lane, Apt. F, Harrisburg, Dauphin County, was arrested June 25 and charged with one count each of insurance fraud, theft by deception and criminal attempt to commit theft by deception. Insurance Fraud Section agents allege that Stewart submitted fraudulent receipts and made false statements as he collected $74,037 in insurance proceeds through United Services Casualty Insurance Company (USAA). Stewart is accused of misrepresenting material facts surrounding multiple property claims for basement flooding while he resided at a rental property on Green Street in Harrisburg. In one claim, Stewart allegedly submitted a receipt indicating the flooding forced him to stay 12 days at a $200 per night bed and breakfast in Harrisburg. Agents later discovered the bed and breakfast did not exist at the location written on the receipt. Stewart’s bail was set at $10,000 at his preliminary arraignment. As of this morning, he was being held in the Dauphin County Prison.

Mark Lazrovitch , 51, 5465 Schlack Drive, Gap, Lancaster County, was arrested June 23 and charged with one count each of insurance fraud and criminal attempt to commit theft by deception. The investigation showed that a stone roller was insured through Main Street America Group related to the business BBC Exteriors & Paving. Agents allege Lazrovitch reported the stone roller stolen in December 2012. Later, Lazrovitch allegedly submitted a suspicious invoice to the insurance company indicating the stone roller had been purchased for $12,500. Agents reported tracking down the real invoice, which showed Lazrovitch had actually purchased the stone roller “as is” for $3,975. Lazrovitch was released from custody after posting 10 percent of his $25,000 bail.

Dwayne Earl Young , 54, 753 Nottingham Road, Peach Bottom, Lancaster County, was arrested June 8 and charged with one count each of insurance fraud and theft by deception. The Insurance Fraud Section started its investigation of Young after a referral was received from Infinity Insurance. Young’s insurance policy lapsed in May 2012 due to non-payment, leading him to apply for new coverage in November of that year. Three days after obtaining a new policy, agents allege that Infinity Insurance received a report indicating Young had been involved in an accident the day before he applied for new coverage. Young allegedly reported that his car was struck in a hit and run three days after his new policy went into effect. Young’s bail was set at $5,000 unsecured.

Dawn Marie Notaro , 41, 540 Main St., Apt. 6, Stroudsburg, Monroe County, was arrested June 9 and charged with one count each of insurance fraud and theft by deception, as well as four counts of forgery. Notaro is accused of submitting false or inflated receipts to Liberty Mutual Insurance Company after her business sustained smoke damage when the adjacent business caught fire. Notaro claimed the fire and related smoke and odor resulted in a loss to her business of $183,487. In one claim, Notaro is accused of submitting an invoice from a reupholstering company that she alleged provided her three pieces of French provincial furniture worth $11,310, agents said. The investigation revealed the invoice for the furniture was only $2,862 and allegedly had been inflated by Notaro. Her bail was set at $25,000 unsecured.

Eastern Region

Reginald Graves , 53, 6158 Delancey St., Philadelphia, was arrested June 15 and charged with one count each of insurance fraud and criminal attempt to commit theft by deception. According to a criminal complaint, in January 2012 Graves reported to his auto insurer, Infinity Insurance, that his truck had been damaged more than a week earlier. He allegedly claimed the truck had been damaged while parked in a parking lot. Another insurance company contacted Infinity Insurance, stating Graves’ truck was involved in an accident, agents reported. Agents said they determined that Graves’ half-brother was driving the vehicle when it was involved in the accident, but Graves reported to Infinity that he was the driver when the truck was purportedly damaged in the parking lot. His bail was set at $10,000 unsecured.

Erica Rochelle Hampton , 40, 941 Bush St., Bridgeport, Montgomery County, was arrested June 24 and charged with two counts of insurance fraud and one count of theft by deception. Investigators with the Insurance Fraud Section allege that Hampton in October 2010 reported that she rear-ended another vehicle. But witnesses later stated that it was actually Hampton’s boyfriend driving the car, agents reported. Erie Insurance, Hampton’s insurance provider, paid roughly $5,000 for repairs to her vehicle and more than $2,000 in repairs to the other vehicle involved in the accident, a criminal complaint says. Hampton was released on her own recognizance following a preliminary arraignment.

In 1990, the state legislature made insurance fraud a serious crime in Pennsylvania, punishable by heavy fines and stiff prison sentences.

In 1994, legislation was enacted in Pennsylvania establishing the Insurance Fraud Prevention Authority (IFPA) and a Fraud Trust Fund. All insurance companies authorized to transact business in Pennsylvania pay an annual assessment into the fund. The funds provide financial support to the Office of Attorney General’s Insurance Fraud Section and other law enforcement agencies to support insurance fraud investigations and prosecutions.

Private citizens can report allegations of insurance fraud using an online form or by calling the IFPA’s hotline at 1-888-565-IFPA (4372).

Consumers with a complaint involving an insurance company that does not involve fraud should contact the Pennsylvania Insurance Department at 1-877-881-6388 or the  Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection at 1-800-441-2555.