Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office Charges Insurance Adjuster in $722K Theft

January 24, 2020

The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office (DAO) has charged insurance adjuster Michael R. Shelly with insurance fraud, forgery, theft by deception and theft by failure to make required disposition of funds for stealing more than $722,000 from Bridesburg, Penn.-based manufacturer Philly Rubber Inc.

“As the owner of Zenith Public Adjusters, Michael Shelly had a responsibility to clients that included local businesses like Philly Rubber to help them with their insurance claims in a responsible and ethical way,” Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner said in a press release issued by his office. “Instead, Shelly stole Philly Rubber’s settlement checks.”

Philly Rubber Inc. is a manufacturer of gaskets and other rubber and foam products. In January of 2019, a sprinkler pipe in the factory burst, causing extensive water damage to the business’ materials, machinery and work spaces. Zenith Public Adjusters was contracted to negotiate insurance claims on behalf of Philly Rubber.

As the owner of Zenith Public Adjusters, Shelly inspected the damage to Philly Rubber’s factory, met with the owner of Philly Rubber on several occasions and provided some water remediation services and assistance with the manufacturer’s insurance claim.

At some point, Shelly stopped returning Philly Rubber’s phone calls and emails, nor was he present in his Broomall, Penn., office. In November 2019, the owner of Philly Rubber learned that their insurance claim had been closed and multiple settlement checks totaling more than $722,000 had been cashed by Shelly. Eventually, Shelly contacted the owners of Philly Rubber and agreed to send a check, but never did.

The DAO Insurance Fraud Unit began investigating Zenith Public Adjusters after the owner and manager of Philly Rubber contacted Philadelphia detectives assigned to the DAO. A warrant for Shelly’s arrest was issued on January 14, and Shelly turned himself in to DAO detectives on Thursday, January 16.

His next court date is scheduled for February 24 in courtroom 406 of the Juanita Kidd Stout Center for Criminal Justice. Members of the business community and general public who believe they have been taken advantage of by Michael Shelly or Zenith Public Adjusters should contact the DAO Insurance Fraud Unit.

Source: The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office

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