Allegheny accounts for second-most insurance fraud cases in Pa. |

Allegheny accounts for second-most insurance fraud cases in Pa.

Jeff Himler
Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts
Pennsylvania insurance fraud cases tracked for 2013-17.

Allegheny County ranks second among Pennsylvania’s 67 counties in prevalence of insurance fraud, according to cases filed in recent years through the state’s judicial system.

A report issued Friday by the Administrative Office 0f Pennsylvania Courts indicates there were 348 insurance fraud cases filed in Allegheny from 2013 through 2017, accounting for about 13.5 percent of the 2,574 cases statewide in that period.

Philadelphia had the most cases — 559, or 21.7 percent — during the five years.

Westmoreland and Armstrong counties were back in the pack with 29 cases (1.13 percent) and 20 cases (.78 percent), respectively. Just one case apiece occurred in Fulton and Snyder counties, while there were two each in Forest, Susquehanna, Union and Wyoming counties.

The annual number of cases ranged from a low of 483 in 2015 to a high of 533 in 2013. There were 530 cases in 2017.

Of the cases filed, 62 percent resulted in a conviction or Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) under Pennsylvania Title 18, Section 4117. A conviction can result in a civil penalty of up to $5,000 for a first violation, $10,000 for a second offense and $15,000 for each subsequent offense, plus any court costs and attorney fees assessed by the court.

The bulk of insurance fraud, about one-third of state cases during 2013-17, were committed by defendants between ages 26 and 35, according to the AOPC study. Men were charged most often, in about 57 percent of the cases.

Common reasons for insurance fraud charges include: A faked car crash; a staged house fire or robbery; a false medical or disability claim; a rental insurance scam.

Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, [email protected] or via Twitter @jhimler_news.