PA Collision Center owner surrenders after submitting $426,000 in bogus insurance claims

A Bucks County collision center owner who submitted nearly 300 false insurance claims, pocketing more than $426,000 in payouts, has turned himself in to authorities, they said.

John Paul Reis, 56, of Newtown Township surrendered on Thursday, Aug. 25, for insurance fraud, deceptive marketing practices, forgery and theft by deception, all third-degree felonies, according to the county prosecutor in Bucks. Desk.

The charges come after a four-year investigation by county detectives that began in September 2018, after receiving a recommendation from Erie Insurance officials who claimed the Chalfont Collision Center on Park Avenue was deliberately causing damage to vehicles customers to increase assurance. estimates.

Erie Insurance was just one of four insurance companies that Reis defrauded for several years.

The investigation revealed that to do this, Reis wiped a compound mixture on the bodywork of several vehicles and sometimes hit them with a hammer, making it look like the vehicles were involved in an accident, so he could charge the companies. insurance for more money, authorities said.

Because Chalfont Collision Center was a direct repair center for Erie Insurance and many other insurance companies, the company was verified and authorized to write estimates and perform repairs, among other responsibilities, bypassing the time of redress for customers, the prosecutor’s office said.

As the investigation continued, county detectives were able to come into contact with three other insurance companies that had falsified company insurance claims.

These companies were Nationwide Insurance, CSAA Insurance Group and Liberty Mutual Insurance. Investigators say the four insurance companies collectively identified 289 estimates citing inflated damage submitted by Chalfont Collision between 2014 and 2022.

Insurance companies identified $426,233 in fraudulent claims paid to the Chalfont Collision Center, including 185 by Liberty Mutual Insurance for $312,265, authorities said.

A search warrant was served on March 25 at Chalfont Collision, where detectives seized evidence including relevant photos, files and computers, they said.

“Some people tend to view insurance fraud as a victimless crime,” District Attorney Matt Weintraub said.

“That is until the financial losses resulting from these 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 body shop criminally and financially liable.

Reis was arraigned by a judge who set bail at $150,000.

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