Following a grand jury report that sounds more like a movie script than your typical Philadelphia indictment, 41 people have been charged in a multimillion-dollar insurance fraud scam in Philadelphia.
Ronald Galati Sr. and 40 others are facing criminal charges of faking automobile accidents to collect on insurance payments, said Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams Wednesday.
“When crafting bogus accident claims, Galati favored deer hits, vandalism and vehicular damages from trajectory objects because each could be catagorized as a nonfault accident from which the insured would not be held liable,” Williams explained.
To make the vehicles appear as if they’d been damaged, the suspects used props — including deer hair, antlers and blood — to embellish the cars, said Assistant District Attorney Dawn Holtz. The next step was taking what were called “Hollywood photos” of the vehicles to support the bogus claims, she said.
“In a lot of instances, it was things being stuck inside the grille, blood being splattered, mud being thrown under the car,” she said. “When you take it apart, there’s not even a dent. But because the appraisers were in on it, and they knew how to take the photographs, it got through.”
A city worker has been charged with helping Galati’s American Collision shop receive a big city contract to repair police cars — even though the shop didn’t have the proper equipment.