Insurance Fraud NEWS

Coalition Against Insurance Fraud

Pennsylvania woman allegedly claims bogus Lyme disease

April 06, 2019, Crawford County, PA — Two Crawford County residents were among 25 people charged in western Pennsylvania following investigations by the state Attorney General’s Insurance Fraud Section, Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced Friday.

Victoria Lynn Neal, 48, of 6714 Route 6, Pine Township, faces two felony and one misdemeanor charge related to alleged false disability insurance claims last year. Neal is scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing May 2 before Magisterial District Judge Samuel Pendolino.

Lewis Edward Bentley Jr., 43, of 306 Randolph St., Meadville, faces one felony and one misdemeanor charge related to an alleged false auto insurance claim last year. He was arraigned before Pendolino on Feb. 20. No date is set for his preliminary hearing before Pendolino.

“Any Pennsylvanian with insurance is hurt by this type of fraud — it inflates rates and causes all of us to pay more,” Shapiro said. “It’s wrong, and my Insurance Fraud Section is taking action to stop it. We will aggressively prosecute anyone who breaks the law by providing false information to an insurance company.”

The charges resulted from a sweep conducted over the past two months by the Insurance Fraud Section’s Western Regional Office. Neal and Bentley join 450 other people charged in insurance fraud cases since Shapiro took office in January 2017, according to a press release from the Office of Attorney General.

Neal is charged with stealing $2,003 from American Bankers Insurance Company through what authorities say were false disability insurance claims filed in February and November 2018, according to the probable cause affidavit filed by the Insurance Fraud Section. Neal’s insurance policy covered payments for a loan she had with Regency Finance in the event she became disabled, according to the affidavit.

The affidavit alleges that Neal forged the signature of Dr. Joseph Joseph of Hermitage and falsified dates of doctor appointments on documentation she submitted with her claims of disability resulting from Lyme disease. Neal acknowledged having forged the doctor’s signature, according to the affidavit.

Neal faces third degree felony charges of insurance fraud and theft by deception and a misdemeanor charge of forgery.

Bentley is charged with attempting to steal $1,231 from Erie Insurance through what the Insurance Fraud Section alleges were false claims regarding damage to his vehicle in March 2018, according to the probable cause affidavit. Bentley told an Erie Insurance representative that his 2010 Chevrolet Equinox was stuck twice, first on the rear and then on the front end, when it was parked in front of his Randolph Street home, according to the affidavit.

Investigators allege the damage resulted from two separate crashes that occurred when the vehicle was being driven by a person who had been specifically excluded from the policy when Bentley tried to add him, according to the affidavit.

Bentley faces a third degree felony charge of insurance fraud and a misdemeanor charge of attempted theft by deception.

Neal and Bentley were both released on their own recognizance.

Source: Meadville Tribune

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