‘Slip and Fall Family’ Given Longest Prison Term in Pa. Anti-Fraud History

June 1, 2006

All six suspects in one of the largest “slip and fall” rings in Pennsylvania have been sentenced to state prison and ordered to refund more than $84,000 that was illegally obtained through bogus insurance claims over a period of four years, according to Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett.

Corbett said the prison sentences for the key defendants were the
largest imposed by a judge in any prosecution led by the Attorney
General’s Insurance Fraud Section. The suspects were sentenced by Blair County Court of Common Pleas Judge Daniel Milliron.

The grand jury investigation known as “Operation Family Fraud,” focused on the six defendants, whom at the time, were living in two mobile trailer homes in Logan Township, Blair County. The suspects referred to themselves as “The Family,” and the members were either blood related or linked romantically.

In 2004, all six were arrested and charged with filing more than 80
bogus insurance claims that defrauded numerous insurance companies out of more than $84,000, according to Corbett. He said the phony claims that they were charged with were filed between 1999 and 2003.

“This particular gang of con artists may be the most brazen defendants to ever be prosecuted by our Insurance Fraud Section,” Corbett said.

“Together, they pretended to suffer serious injuries from staged slip
and fall accidents, car wrecks, food poisonings and work-related
incidents. They were each other’s witnesses, and even faked evidence to bolster their claims. Three of the suspects used their minor children as claimants and witnesses in several bogus filings.”

Corbett explained how they apparently duped medcial professionals. “These individuals were such good actors that their faked symptoms resulted in ambulance rides to nearby hospitals where emergency personnel performed a battery of tests and x-rays to determine
appropriate treatment for their complaints. All of this was done to
generate medical expenses for insurance claims. This blatant disrespect for the law and others in need of real medical treatment makes this case worthy of the stiffest penalties possible,” Corbett maintained.

The grand jury found that the defendants individually or collectively
developed specialties in staging accidents at laundromats, restaurants, tavern parking lots, businesses and other commercial establishments. In all, phony claims worth more than $84,000 were paid-out as reimbursements for medical expenses and faked pain and suffering. All of the suspects pleaded guilty to the charges.

The following, according to Corbett, is a list of the suspects, the charges against them and
the sentence imposed:

* Richard Frye, 39, was sentenced to 8 to 16 years in prison and
fined $2,700 plus ordered to pay $84,866 in joint restitution after
pleading guilty to 10 counts of insurance fraud, 16 counts of theft and
one count of criminal conspiracy.

* Travis Brinkner, 27, was sentenced to 3 to 6 years in prison
and fined $1,100 plus ordered to pay $84,866 in joint restitution after
pleading guilty to 4 counts of insurance fraud, five counts of theft,
one count each of criminal conspiracy and perjury.

* Patricia Yeager, 38, was sentenced to 62 to 124 months in prison
and fined $1,400 plus ordered to pay $84,866 in joint restitution after
pleading guilty to 6 counts of insurance fraud, seven counts of theft
and one count of criminal conspiracy.

* Janet Betar, 38, was sentenced to 62 to 124 months in prison and
fined $1,500 plus ordered to pay $84,866 in joint restitution after
pleading guilty to 8 counts of insurance fraud, 6 counts of theft and
one count of criminal conspiracy.

* Thomas Miller, 47, was sentenced to 2 to 4 years in prison
followed by 5 years probation, and fined $1,100 plus ordered to pay
$19,574 in joint restitution. He pleaded guilty in March 2005 to 8
counts of insurance fraud, and one count each of theft and corrupt
organizations.

* Charles Colson, 54, was sentenced to 2 to 4 years in prison and
ordered to pay $21,463 in joint restitution after pleading guilty to 11
counts of insurance fraud, 5 counts of theft and one count of corrupt
organizations.

Corbett said Senior Deputy Attorney General Scott Robinette of the
Attorney General’s Pittsburgh Insurance Fraud Section prosecuted the case in the Blair County Court of Common Pleas. The individuals will serve their sentences in a State Correctional Institution.

Source: Pa. Attorney General

Topics Fraud Abuse Molestation Pennsylvania

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