Scamming Unsuspecting Homeowners Has Its Consequences

  • In December 2010, a 32-year-old Red Hill, PA man was arrested in Montgomery County by special agents of the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office. Charged with Insurance Fraud, it was alleged that as a representative of a New Jersey-based contracting company, the man distributed flyers to Pennsylvania homeowners after storms occurred, promising new siding at no cost through insurance claims and that prior to the arrival of adjusters from the homeowners’ insurance companies the man created additional damage to the homes.
  • In April 2011, Lehigh County law enforcement officials, working with Pennsylvania Attorney General special agents and assisted by NICB special agents and New Jersey law enforcement officers, arrested two men, both age 34, of Sellersville, PA and Quakertown, PA on charges of Insurance Fraud and Corrupt Organizations. It was alleged that from April 2009 through 2011, the pair operated a criminal scheme to defraud insurers through fraudulent hail damage claims. Flyers left at area homes promised homeowners free inspections for storm damage and new roofs and siding at no cost through insurance claims. Homeowners were also told that by placing the contractors’ sign in their yards after work was done, that their policy deductibles would be returned to them. Before adjusters from insurance companies arrived to inspect homes, the pair and several inspectors employed by their contracting firms would create damage to the roofs and siding of homes to make it appear that they had been hail damaged. Unsuspecting property insurers paid out millions of dollars. Unsuspecting homeowners found that mechanics liens had been placed on their homes as contractors had not paid roofing and siding suppliers.
  • In June 2012, detectives of the Delaware County District Attorney's Office charged a 33-year-old Media, PA contractor with Attempted Insurance Fraud and Theft by Deception. A representative from the contractor’s firm had called, unannounced, upon a Lansdowne, PA couple after a June 2010 hailstorm had passed through their neighborhood. Informed that their home had been hail damaged, the couple reported a claim to their home’s insurer and hired the contractor’s firm to make repairs. The couple received several thousand dollars from their home’s insurer to start repairs. Repairs were not started quickly. As repairs were made, the couple and contractor disagreed about the quality of work. The home was reportedly further damaged by water leakage and mold. It was alleged that after the couple refused to pay the contractor the remaining money due without full repairs being made, the contractor gave the couple’s insurer a false certification that work had been completed in an attempt to obtain the additional thousands of dollars due. The insurer’s final claim payment check was sent to the couple, but was not released to the contractor by the couple as needed repairs were not complete by October 2011.

Unwise Homeowners Try to Turn Storm Events Into a Payday

Some see an opportunity to gain from extreme weather and fall prey to bad judgment by committing insurance fraud. Here are a few examples:

  • On October 21, 2008, a 52-year-old North Huntingdon, PA woman was arrested in Westmoreland County by Attorney General Insurance Fraud special agents and charged with filing a fraudulent claim on her Allstate Insurance Company homeowners insurance. Reporting to Allstate that her furnace was damaged by a power failure during a wind and hail storm, the woman altered a repair order form, changing the cost of a replacement circuit board for her furnace from $150 to $750. The alteration was caught by Allstate claim representatives.
  • On September 22, 2009, a 38-year-old Titusville, PA woman was arrested by OAG special agents in Crawford County. According to the Criminal Complaint, the defendant added collision and comprehensive coverage to her existing automobile policy with the Unitrin Insurance Company following a hailstorm that occurred on July 26, 2008. Thereafter, she filed a claim for damages caused to her vehicle by the hailstorm by allegedly misrepresenting the date of the storm’s occurrence in an attempt to bring it within the newly obtained coverage period. She was charged with Insurance Fraud and Criminal Attempt/Theft.
  • On January 30, 2012, OAG special agents filed a Criminal Complaint in Fulton County charging a 38-year-old Needmore, PA man with Insurance Fraud (F3) and Criminal Attempt/Theft by Deception. It was alleged that after the defendant's car was damaged by hail, he purchased auto insurance with GEICO Insurance Company and then filed a hail damage claim, misrepresenting that the damage happened after his purchase of insurance. On May 1, 2012, the defendant was granted ARD with 12 Month probation and was ordered to pay all court costs.