Scammers Sue Transit Authority Over Imaginary Accident

Posted December 14, 2012 in Criminal Law Frauds & Scams Insurance Law by

Keith Brofsky/Photodisc/Thinkstock

Six Philadelphia residents were arrested this month for insurance fraud after they sued the local public transit authority, claiming they had been injured in a bus accident. What was the fraud? The bus wasn’t in an accident, and five of the six people weren’t even riding it.

Turns out they have cameras on the buses. Oops.

The lawsuits began with a woman who tripped while walking to the back of the bus, absent any accident or sudden stop. She sued for injury claims, and the next thing SEPTA, the transit authority, knew, six other lawsuits fell into its lap.

The latest incident follows a similar situation when six other stupid (alleged) criminals were hauled in on fraud charges in October after they filed injury claims for a bus accident when video showed they weren’t actually on the bus. In that case, at least the vehicle in question had actually been in an accident, albeit a minor one where no legitimate injuries were reported.

The transit authority is seeking to reduce the $40 million per year it pays out in accident claims and launched an effort last year to root out liars and frauds, in large part through the use of surveillance cameras on the buses. Video footage has shown absurd scenes like people running down the street to hop on a bus that was in an accident in order to fake an injury and make a claim.

“People used to think that riding on SEPTA and filing an injury claim was like winning the lottery,” a SEPTA spokesperson told a local paper. “But that era is over, O-V-E-R, over.”

Lawsuits and the civil justice system are crucial avenues for consumers to protect their rights and seek redress when they’ve been wronged. Fabricating a bogus lawsuit in search of a big payout, on the other hand, is a good way to become familiar with the inside of a prison cell.

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