13 Charged in Philadelphia Body Shop's Insurance Fraud/Theft Scheme - BodyShop Business
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13 Charged in Philadelphia Body Shop’s Insurance Fraud/Theft Scheme

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An insurance fraud and theft ring operating out of a Philadelphia body shop was broken up recently by the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation Organized Crime Eastern Task Force Unit.

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Attorney General Tom Corbett said the investigation, which began in November 2008, focused on Phillip "Phil" Sessa, of Ventnor, N.J., the owner and operator of Philly Collision.

Evidence and testimony regarding the alleged illegal activity was presented to a statewide investigating grand jury, which recommended that criminal charges be filed.

According to the grand jury, Sessa and at least 12 other suspects vandalized or damaged vehicles that were parked on public streets or at Philly Collision and then submitted fraudulent claims to insurance companies in order to receive payment for the repairs.

The grand jury found that Sessa also utilized two other schemes to obtain money from insurance companies, including staging fraudulent accidents and having individuals voluntarily surrender vehicles at his shop and then report the vehicles as stolen to the insurance companies. 

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Agents estimate that the organization is responsible for filing and staging at least 22 claims worth more than $300,000 in theft and attempted thefts.

The Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office and the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) assisted with the investigation.

Below is a complete list of the defendants and the charges against them.

• Phillip Sessa, 41, Ventnor, N.J., is charged with 44 counts of insurance fraud, 17 counts of theft by deception, 13 counts of theft by receiving stolen property, nine counts of false reports to law enforcement authorities, four counts of criminal use of a communication facility, three counts of false reports, two counts of deceptive business practices, two counts of criminal mischief, one count of corrupt organizations, one count of criminal conspiracy and one count of owning, operating or conducting a chop shop.

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• Robert Ditomaso, 40, Philadelphia, is charged with six counts of insurance fraud, two counts of theft by deception, two counts of theft by receiving stolen property, two counts of false reports to law enforcement authorities, one count of false reports, one count of criminal conspiracy and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.

• Daniel Stabile, 22, Philadelphia, is charged with 11 counts of insurance fraud, five counts of theft by deception, four counts of false reports to law enforcement authorities, one count of criminal conspiracy and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.

• Deborah Lawson, 51, Linwood, Delaware County, is charged with three counts of insurance fraud, one count of theft by deception, one count of theft by receiving stolen property and one count of criminal conspiracy.

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• Mark Clark, also known as Jihad Muhammad, 49, Philadelphia, is charged with three counts of insurance fraud, one count of theft by deception and one count of criminal conspiracy.

• David Dorkin, 49, Cherry Hill, N.J., is charged with three counts of insurance fraud, one count of theft by deception, one count of theft by receiving stolen property, one count of criminal use of a communication facility and one count of criminal conspiracy.

• Frederick Brooks, 71, Philadelphia, is charged with two counts of insurance fraud, one count of criminal use of a communication facility, one count of false reports to law enforcement authorities, one count of false reports and one count of criminal conspiracy.

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• Karen Mitchell, 54, Philadelphia, is charged with nine counts of insurance fraud, two counts of theft by deception, two counts of theft by receiving stolen property, two counts of false reports to law enforcement authorities, one count of false reports, one count of criminal use of a communication facility and one count of criminal conspiracy.

• Dominique Nixon, 23, Philadelphia, is charged with six counts of insurance fraud, one count of theft by deception, one count of theft by receiving stolen property, one count of false reports to law enforcement authorities, one count of false reports and one count of criminal conspiracy.

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• Jason Silverstein, 27, Egg Harbor, N.J., is charged with one count each of theft by deception, insurance fraud and criminal conspiracy.

• Jeffrey Sheehan, 50, Wenonah, N.J., is charged with one count each of theft by deception, theft by receiving stolen property, insurance fraud and criminal conspiracy.

• Elmo Swanson, 47, Philadelphia, is charged with three counts of insurance fraud, one count of theft by deception, one count of theft by receiving stolen property, one count of false reports to law enforcement authorities, one count of false reports and one count of criminal conspiracy.

• Andrew Yates, 74, Gladwyne, Montgomery County, Pa., is charged with four counts of insurance fraud, two counts of deceptive business practices and one count of criminal conspiracy.

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