Chalfont Collision Center owner charged with insurance fraud: DA | Business Insurance

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DOYLESTOWN, PA — The owner of the Chalfont Collision Center faces third-degree felony charges for allegedly submitting nearly 300 false insurance claims over several years to four insurance companies and pocketing more than $426,000 in payouts.

John Paul Reis, 56, of Newtown Township, surrendered Thursday, August 25, on charges of insurance fraud, deceptive business practices, forgery, and theft by deception. He was arraigned by Magisterial District Judge Regina Armitage, who set bail at $150,000 unsecured.

The charges brought against Reis are the result of a four-year investigation by the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office Insurance Fraud Unit, which began in September 2018 after receiving a referral from the Investigations Unit. Erie Insurance specials that alleged the Chalfont Collision Center, at 74 Park Avenue, was upgrading or damaging customers’ vehicles to inflate insurance estimates.

The investigation found that Reis, the owner of Chalfont Collision Center, concocted an insurance fraud scheme in which he wiped a compound mixture onto the bodywork of various vehicles and sometimes hit them with a hammer, making it appear that the vehicles were involved in an accident, so they could bill the insurance companies more money.

Because Chalfont Collision Center was a direct repair center for Erie Insurance and many other insurance companies, the collision center’s credentials meant they were verified by insurance companies and authorized to write estimates, complete repairs, and submit documents. billing/estimate for payment. , speeding up time to repair for customers.

As the investigation progressed, Bucks County detectives contacted other insurance companies to see if they also had falsified Chalfont Collision insurance claims.

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Erie Insurance, Nationwide Insurance, CSAA Insurance Group and Liberty Mutual Insurance collectively identified 289 estimates that contained artificial or inflated damages embedded in the actual facts of the estimates, submitted by Chalfont Collision between 2014 and 2022.

Insurance companies identified $426,233.64 in fraudulent claims paid to the Chalfont Collision Center, including 185 from Liberty Mutual Insurance for $312,265.83.

Bucks County detectives, along with the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office and the Central Bucks Regional Police Department, executed a search warrant at Chalfont Collision on March 25, 2022, seizing evidence including photographs, files and computers. .

“Some people tend to think of insurance fraud as a victimless crime,” said District Attorney Matt Weintraub. “That is, until the financial losses from those fraudulent claims are passed on to us in the form of higher insurance rates. I commend our investigators and prosecutors in our Insurance Fraud Unit for holding Mr. Reis and his auto body shop criminally and financially accountable.”

This investigation was conducted by Bucks County detectives, with the assistance of the Central Bucks Regional Police Department, the Attorney General’s Office, and the Special Investigations Units of Erie Insurance, Nationwide Insurance, CSAA Insurance Group, and Liberty Mutual Insurance.

This case is assigned for prosecution to Deputy District Attorney Marc J. Furber.