Nearly 500 professionals’ from 16 states attended the two-day event at the Hershey Lodge and Convention Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Special guest speaker was Delaware District Attorney, John J. “Jack” Whelan. The conference also featured the 2015 Pennsylvania Fraud Fighter awards presented by the Executive Director of the IFPA, Tom Donahue, and the President of the Greater Pittsburgh Chapter of the IASIU, Diane Svec and the President of the Delaware Valley Chapter IASIU, John McHale.
2015 Fraud Conference Highlights
- IFPA Executive Director Tom Donahue, on behalf of the IFPA’s Board of Directors and the officers and members of the conference co-host chapters of IASIU, thanked all attendees for their work during the past year, and their help in ensuring Pennsylvania’s continued success in the fight against insurance fraud.
- The 2015 Insurance Fraud Conference kicked off with keynote speaker John J. “Jack” Whelan, District Attorney for Delaware County, who has been dedicated to criminal justice and law enforcement from the time he was in college. Whelan has been a respected practicing attorney for 25 years, served as Delaware County Assistant D.A. from 1986-1991, and held the position of Chairman for the Delaware County Council. As District Attorney and Chief Law Enforcement Officer, he has taken the lead on many public safety initiatives, including the establishment of the Anti-Violence Task Force, the expansion of the Senior Exploitation Unit, and forming the Delaware County Heroin Task Force. A graduate of Temple University School of Law, he also has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Temple University.
- Following the conference’s opening. Donahue announced that Pennsylvania’s Fraud Fighters had nominated five of their colleagues’ work for recognition and was joined onstage by IASIU Delaware Valley President John McHale, of Erie Insurance, and IASDIU Greater Pittsburgh Chapter President Diane Svec, of Erie Insurance.
- Donahue presented the 2015 Fraud Fighter Awards to Assistant District Attorney [ADA] Linda Montag, and Detective Al Quintile. They conducted a grand jury investigation which resulted in 47 defendants being charged for their involvement in a staged slip and fall accident scheme that defrauded 21 insurance companies out of $400,000. The defendants included the individuals who filed the fraudulent claims, the “runners” who were paid to recruit them, and attorney Andrew Gaber, a sole practitioner who ran the operation in his law office.
- Donahue presented the 2015 Fraud Fighter Awards to (ADA) Dawn Holtz and Detective Robert DiFrancesco. They conducted a grand jury investigation which resulted in the arrest of Ronald Galati Sr. and 40 of his co-conspirators, which included a Philadelphia police officer, a city official, insurance fraud adjusters and tow truck operators, for a $5 million insurance fraud scheme involving staged, invented and enhanced automobile accidents and vandalisms centered in an auto body shop run by Galati and his family members.
- Donahue presented a 2015 Fraud Fighter Award to Rhea Rigatti Sciarrino, SIU Investigator, Progressive Insurance Company, naming her Investigator of the Year. She has worked with Progressive since 2000, and currently serves as sole SIU investigator for western Pennsylvania, conducting investigations from the Wexford (PA) office and in the field. Her investigations include the areas of auto, property, medical, providers and commercial.
- Donahue recognized Michael J. Ebner, Senior Financial Investigator, Independence Blue Cross with a lifetime achievement award. Ebner was named “Fraud Fighter of the Year” for his work on more than 170 cases which have built evidence for 47 criminal referrals to law enforcement agencies and 14 criminal convictions. Considered a subject matter expert in the field of data analysis relating to health care fraud, he was a key investigator for several high-profile cases involving Philadelphia-area physicians involved in billing schemes and running “pill mills.” His efforts have resulted in the direct recovery of approximately $4.7 million to Independence Blue Cross.
- Donahue then recognized new IFPA Board Member, Chris Sloan, Corporate SIU Coordinator for PMA Companies (PMA). Sloan began his insurance career in 1996 as a field investigator specializing in insurance defense work, and joined PMA in 1999 as a workers’ compensation claims adjuster. For the last 14 years, he has worked in the SIU, as a Special Investigator. He is a graduate of Temple University, and received his Senior Claims Law Associate (SCLA) designation in 2006 and his Certified Insurance Fraud Investigator (CIFI) designation in 2007.
- Throughout the two-day conference, attendees benefited from 13 additional educational breakout sessions that included health care fraud, professional ethics, SIU safety, property fraud, interview and interrogation techniques and many more topics. Concurrent exhibitor booths provided attendees idea sharing and new business opportunities.