It seemed like a good idea…until law enforcement authorities got wind of a Philadelphia man’s elaborate auto insurance fraud scheme. Crime had apparently paid for quite some time for 63-year-old body shop owner, and accused perpetrator, Ronald Galati Sr. But, as is usually the case, the long arm of the law caught on…and, Mr. Galati’s days of bilking various auto insurance companies out of an estimated $5 million in possibly hundreds of false and inflated accident claims, appear to have come to a timely end.
When the cause of the damage was in doubt…blaming it on hitting a deer worked quite well for Mr. Galati and his co-conspirators – as no one at the insurance companies he regularly defrauded was the wiser. After all, running your car into an inattentive deer on any one of Pennsylvania’s back roads is a fairly common occurrence. And, Mr. Galati had thought this probable cause for an accident out extensively before putting it into motion. Once things got started, the illegal money was too good and too easy to give up.
Turns out…according to investigators, Mr. Galati had a pretty clear motto, which was – “I live my life to cheat insurance companies — my high every day is to cheat insurance companies.” An interesting “claim” to fame to say the least as Mr. Galati currently faces hundreds of charges relating to his auto insurance fraud activities.
The scheme, according to authorities, went something like this: Storing dead deer carcasses at his body shop business located in south Philadelphia, Mr. Galati used the carcasses, fur, and blood to make it appear that the animals had been struck on the road, causing serious damage to the vehicles. Willing participants in the scam would then file an accident claim for which the estimate for required “repairs” was far higher than the actual damage incurred by the vehicles. As a result, Mr. Galati and his wide network of co-conspirators managed to enjoy a considerable illegal income.
Meanwhile, as the case was being laid out, it was discovered during grand jury proceedings that Mr. Galati was not only working with low level criminals taking part in his fraudulent operation, but he also had managed to gain the assistance of a corrupt bureaucrat, who became involved in the scheme by allegedly handing Mr. Galati a rather lucrative city contract for repairing municipal vehicles. Great work if you can get it…and, the enterprising Mr. Galati did.
But, it doesn’t stop there. At the time of the grand jury hearing, as many as forty-one individuals had been implicated and charged for their participation in Mr. Galati’s auto insurance scam. Seemingly, a strong believer in another motto – “A family who defrauds auto insurance companies together – stays together” – numerous members of Mr. Galati’s family, including his wife, daughter, and son, have also been charged in the scam.
The extensive scheme also brought down a city official, a Philadelphia police officer, and two employees of insurance companies. How was Mr. Galati able to successfully keep the fraud going for so long? Apparently, he was good at what he did…and had a knack of creating viable accident scenarios with the use of his network of conspiring rogue professionals, who helped to legitimize the fraudulent claims. Of course, not to mention, the deer carcasses, fur, and blood, which turned out to be fairly convincing props in making the accidents appear more believable.
Bottom line is – you may think auto insurance fraud is an easy way to make money – but, as with Mr. Galati, who thought he was smarter than the insurance companies – you will eventually get caught – and, you will go to jail.
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