According to the Bucks County Attorney’s Office, a Pennsylvania auto repair shop owner filed about 300 false insurance claims with four insurance companies over several years, receiving more than $426,000 in payouts.
John Paul Reis, 56, of Newtown, turned himself in on Thursday, August 25, 2022, on charges of insurance fraud, fraudulent business practices, forgery and theft by deception, all third-degree felony charges. He was sued by District Judge Regina Armitage, who set bail at $150,000 without security.
The charges brought against Reis are the result of a four-year investigation by the Insurance Fraud Unit of the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office, which began in September 2018 after receiving a referral from Erie Insurance’s Special Investigation Unit alleging that Reis was at the Chalfont Collision Center. at 74 Park. Avenue, enlarged and/or damaged customer vehicles to inflate insurance estimates.
The investigation revealed that Reis, the owner of the Chalfont Collision Center, devised an insurance fraud scheme in which he rubbed compound on the bodies of several cars, and sometimes hit them with a hammer, making it look like the cars were involved in a traffic accident. accident so he can bill the insurance companies for the extra money.
As the Chalfont Accident Center was a direct repair center for Erie Insurance and many other insurance companies, the accident center’s credentials meant that they were verified by the insurance companies and were authorized to make estimates, perform repairs, and submit estimates/documents for payment. , speeding up repair time for customers.
As the investigation progressed, Bucks County detectives contacted other insurance companies to see if they also had falsified insurance claims from Chalfont Collision. Erie Insurance, Nationwide Insurance, CSAA Insurance Group, and Liberty Mutual Insurance jointly identified 289 estimates that contained artificial or inflated damages included in the true facts of estimates reported by Chalfont Collision between 2014 and 2022. to the Chalfont Collision Center, including 185 from Liberty Mutual Insurance for $312,265.83.
Bucks County detectives, along with the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office and the Central Bucks Regional Police Department, executed a search warrant in the Chalfont encounter on March 25, 2022, seizing evidence including photographs, files, and computers.
“Some people tend to think of insurance fraud as a victimless crime,” District Attorney Matt Weintraub said. “That is, until the financial losses from these fraudulent claims are passed on to us in the form of higher insurance rates. I thank our investigators and prosecutors in our insurance fraud unit for bringing Reis and his body shop to criminal and financial liability.”
The investigation was conducted by Bucks County detectives with the assistance of the Central Bucks Regional Police Department, the Attorney General’s Office, and the Special Investigation Units of Erie Insurance, Nationwide Insurance, CSAA Insurance Group, and Liberty Mutual Insurance. This case has been submitted for prosecution to Deputy District Attorney Mark J. Ferber.
Source: Bucks County District Attorney’s Office.
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