In November 2008, Ronald Moore saw a SEPTA bus involved in an accident, so he ran down the street, jumped on the bus and then stretched out across several seats before filing a claim stating that he was injured in the minor collision.
In March 2009, Milton Homes was driving an SUV on Cottman Avenue in the Northeast when he spun out and struck a SEPTA bus, but he claimed the bus crossed into oncoming traffic and struck his vehicle.
Instead of getting rich, both got caught as a result of surveillance cameras on SEPTA buses. They received probation and $1,000 fines after pleading guilty to insurance fraud. Those were among the cases highlighted yesterday as SEPTA and District Attorney Seth Williams announced an anti-fraud campaign to reduce bogus claims.
“A small segment of our riders believe in the urban legend that being involved on a SEPTA vehicle that’s involved in an accident is akin to winning the lottery. They dream of a SEPTA payday based on frivolous injury claims,” said SEPTA General Manager Joe Casey.
Prosecutors said insurance fraud is a felony, which usually comes with probation and a fine.
Injury payouts at $40 million
Since 2009, SEPTA’s total payouts for injury claims has increased more than 10 percent to $40 million. The agency has referred 40 cases of possible fraud to Williams’ office in the last year.
One-third of buses are now equipped with cameras, and SEPTA expects them to be installed on the rest of the fleet by 2013.