Eleven people were charged in an insurance fraud scheme that centered on a Darby Borough auto body shop, the Delaware County District Attorney’s Office announced Monday.
Prosecutors say Franklin Thomas Wilson, 45, the owner of Transformers Collision Specialist used a forklift to damage vehicles — or drove them into poles — in a scheme to increase the amount of money received by insurance companies.
After the claim was paid, Wilson would fix the damage at a much lower cost and pocket the difference.
Investigators were tipped off by an informant. Prosecutors say Wilson also staged damage to vehicles in order to help people in accidents avoid paying deductibles.
Wilson used an empty garage to enhance the damage to cars. Investigators apparently watched one man drive a vehicle into the garage — which was located across the street from the Darby police station — that had no damage. When it exited the garage, it had damage to the side. The owner of the car, a Mercedes CLS500, reported the car was damaged in a hit-and-run and had three witnesses back up his story.
Progressive insurance paid $13,000 for the claim.
Wilson is charged with defrauding insurance companies of $85,000. He is charged with insurance fraud, theft, conspiracy, corrupt organizations and related offenses.
Other people charged include Vernon White, 34; Nicole Walton, 41; Pamela Fields, 52; Letisha Johnson, 44; Adiahah Bell, 32; Conchetta Edwards, 58; Jamar Grant, 27, all of Philadelphia; and Shakeya Miles, 32, of Cherry Hill, New Jersey; Ashely Wilson, 26, of Darby; and Tywana Neal, 36 of King of Prussia.