Arrest Made in Home Restoration Scam, Additional Victims Sought

PITTSBURGH – Detectives from the Allegheny County Police General Investigations Unit, working with detectives from the District Attorney’s office, have arrested Jeffrey McGurk, 45, of McKees Rocks and charged him with 40 crimes including home improvement fraud, theft by deception, receiving stolen property, insurance fraud and conspiracy, among others.

He was arraigned on January 31 and remains housed at the Allegheny County Jail with bail set at $75,000. McGurk, a convicted felon from Philadelphia, came to Pittsburgh in late 2016 and began his business.

A lengthy investigation revealed that McGurk had a history of arriving on the scene of a structure fire in the area shortly after the fire call is broadcast over the emergency radio. In some cases, he would arrive while fire trucks were still on the scene. As a restoration company, McGurk would make vulnerable homeowners promises of handling all of the fire, smoke and water damage in a timely fashion. In some instances, McGurk would tell homeowners that they could get money back from the insurance company claim. Many of his victims are elderly.

McGurk would assure homeowners that his company employed highly trained and certified technicians who would provide only the highest level of service. In actuality, McGurk had few or no employees, but would utilize untrained temporary laborers. McGurk’s company would perform shoddy work, or not complete the work he has promised, and then overcharge homeowners and their insurance companies for the services. In many cases, personal belongings from a home were never returned, with no explanation or compensation from McGurk. Insurance companies were often billed for services that were never performed.

In addition to the issues with his work, McGurk also told homeowners that insurance companies are not to be trusted. He recommended a company located in Philadelphia known as Tri-State Public Adjusters with which he was affiliated to deal with the insurance company on their behalf. Often, McGurk would have the homeowner sign a document that authorized Tri-State to communicate with the insurance company, and prevented the insurance company from dealing directly with the homeowner.

A representative from Tri-State would obtain a signed contract from the homeowner in person, but once signed, there would no longer be any presence on the part of Tri-State. The only advice provided by Tri-State was for the client/homeowner to turn over all insurance proceeds to McGurk. In return for this service, Tri-State Public Adjusters would take a 10% fee from all insurance proceeds paid to the homeowner. As a result of the investigation, arrest warrants have been issued for two employees of Tri-State Public Adjusters – Thomas Bojanowski and Edward Sidney Rosenthal.

Detectives believe there may be additional victims. Anyone having had any similar contact with Jeffrey McGurk, Emergency Services Restoration, or Tri-State Public Adjusters is asked to contact the Allegheny County Police via its Tipline at 1-833-ALL-TIPS (1-833-255-8477).