A Pennsylvania insurance scam has been busted by Philadelphia law enforcement, exposing an alleged plot to use dead deer in fake car crashes.
Ron Galati, 63, is accused of using his family-owned American Collision and Auto Center as the means to stage and fabricate car crashes with deer. The auto shop owner allegedly kept deer blood and carcasses at the shop to use in staged photos to be sent to insurance companies, reports Newser.
What is this deer scam all about, and how did they get caught?
Fake Crashes, Staged Photos, Real Money
Galati and his co-conspirators are alleged to have made nearly $5 million through this dead-deer insurance fraud scheme. According to the Philadelphia Daily News, Galati collected about $2.3 million from insurance collision claims relating to deer, dogs, fruit cartons, falling concrete, and geese.
Newser reports that Galati allegedly got his family, insurance adjusters, and a former city cop in on the scam. Grand jury witnesses testified that Galati lived to cheat insurance companies, that it was his "high every day."
Car accident fraud is fairly commonplace, the only thing somewhat unique about Galati's alleged outfit was that he was keeping deer corpses in his business for "props." Insurance fraud, even if it's only a slight "fudging" of the details on an insurance claim, is illegal.
How to Avoid Fraudulent Claims
District Attorney Seth Williams claims that Galati coached many of his customers to claim they'd been struck by a deer so their insurance companies would consider it a "no fault" accident. If you get in an accident and your local auto body shop tries to rope you into a similar scam, absolutely do not go along with it.
The Coalition Against Insurance Fraud provides resources for reporting insurance fraud or connecting with local fraud bureaus. If you suspect insurance fraud, report it.
If you have been in a car accident and you feel like you've been the victim of a staged accident or the other party is falsifying claims, it may be time to get a car accident attorney on your side.
And for law's sake, don't pose deer corpses on your car.
- 41 Charged in Insurance Scam Involving Dead Deer (The Associated Press)
- Can You Settle a Car Accident With No Insurance? (FindLaw's Injured)
- 'Deerly' Defrauded? 41 Charged in $5M Car-Accident Insurance Scam (FindLaw's Legally Weird)
- No Car Insurance? What Can Happen? (FindLaw's Injured)