Attorney General Shapiro Charges 25 Individuals in Western PA Insurance Fraud Sweep

HARRISBURG —Attorney General Josh Shapiro today announced criminal charges against 25 individuals in Western Pennsylvania following investigations by the Attorney General’s Insurance Fraud Section.

The charges are the result of a sweep conducted by the Insurance Fraud Section’s Western Regional Office during the months of February and March 2019. Since Attorney General Shapiro took office in January 2017, the Office of Attorney General’s Insurance Fraud section has charged 452 persons with insurance fraud cases.

“Any Pennsylvanian with insurance is hurt by this type of fraud – it inflates rates and causes all of us to pay more,” said Attorney General Josh Shapiro. “It’s wrong, and my Insurance Fraud Section is taking action to stop it. We will aggressively prosecute anyone who breaks the law by providing false information to an insurance company.”

The charges announced today involve some of the most common types of insurance fraud. In one case, Rico Collins, 48, of Blairsville, Indiana County, was charged with theft by deception, insurance fraud, forgery and other charges. It is alleged that Collins filed a renter’s claim in August 2016 for jewelry, cash, electronics, CDs, DVDs and an R & B record collection that he reported were stolen from his apartment while he was out of town for three weeks. Collins listed his total value of loss at $25,000.

The insurance company paid the defendant $11,209 and told Collins they could not pay more on the claim without receipts. Collins submitted receipts and the insurance company found two of the receipts to be fraudulent—one for the R & B record collection totaling $7,200 and the other for 188 DVDs totaling $2,657. Collins was arrested on February 26, 2019.