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Coalition Against Insurance Fraud

Pennsylvania driver allegely buys insurance after hitting tree

December 06, 2018, Coalport, PA — A Coalport man accused of insurance fraud in regard to a vehicle accident waived his right to a preliminary hearing yesterday at Centralized Court in front of District Judge James Glass.

Jesse J. Finnegan, 54, is charged with one count of theft by deception—false impression and one count of false/fraud/incomplete insurance claim, both of which are felonies of the third degree.

In the affidavit of probable cause filed by Special Agent James Kopera of the Attorney General’s office, the investigation was based upon a referral of information by Jessica Kolcun of Safe Auto Insurance Company.

The investigation revealed that Finnegan filed a claim with the insurance company in the early morning hours of Feb. 6 after being in an accident on Wopsy Road in Cambria County in the evening of Feb. 5.

The crash occurred at 8:04 p.m. Feb. 5 as Finnegan swerved off of the road to miss an oncoming vehicle and hit a tree. Finnegan’s truck — a 2008 Dodge Ram — had damage to the passenger side tire, bumper and headlight.

The affidavit states he told State Police Trooper John Wogan he did not have insurance at that time and was charged with required financial responsibility by Wogan.

Finnegan then called Safe Auto at 1:57 a.m. on Feb. 6 and reinstated his liability only policy that had been canceled on Dec. 4, 2017 for failure to pay premiums.

On Feb. 7 at 12:03 a.m., Finnegan added comprehensive and collision coverage to his vehicle, verifying with Safe Auto that it would cover sliding on ice, hitting a deer or anything involving an act of nature, and collision coverage would cover hitting another vehicle. Finnegan then filed a claim at 6:32 p.m. on Feb. 7 and said he lost control of his truck and struck a tree sometime between 3-4 p.m. on Feb. 7.

During the investigation, Finnegan was asked if he recalled contacting Safe Auto to file a claim and providing false information concerning the date and time of the accident, to which the affidavit states Finnegan said he only called to inform Safe Auto of the accident and he did not file a claim.

When confronted that Finnegan did indeed file a claim and provided false information, he advised that he was “foggy” with the date and time because he hit his head when his truck hit the tree.

Glass set bail for Finnegan at $25,000 unsecured and he awaits formal arraignment on Jan. 9.

Source: The Progress

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