Nine people who hoped to hit the jackpot at SugarHouse Casino have been arrested for allegedly faking injuries in a minor accident on the casino's shuttle bus.
The nine defendants have all been charged with insurance fraud and theft by deception for allegedly feigning injuries from a May 7 incident in Center City when the shuttle grazed the mirror of a SEPTA bus at Seventh and Market streets.
Prosecutors claim that surveillance video aboard the shuttle shows that none of the 26 passengers on board made any sudden movements indicating injury when the incident occurred, and that there was no damage to the shuttle bus mirror. On the video, some of the passengers can be heard joking about the casino's "deep pockets" when the driver got out to investigate, prosecutors said.
Wanda Bouie, 54, Richard Coleman, 49, Vanessa Foreman, 54, Gwendolyn Freeman, 68, Martha Holman, 66, Christina Pullo, 49, George Senick, Jr., 30, Marion Alston, 63, and Kimberly Welton, 53, all of Philadelphia, filed personal injury claims against the trolley bus company, prosecutors said. In the claims, they all allege serious, even "traumatic" bodily injuries as a result of the accident, and sought medical treatment, insisting their were in "severe pain" from the accident.
All nine defendants turned themselves into the District Attorney's Office and have been arraigned. If convicted, they could face up to seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine.
The investigation was conducted by the District Attorney's Office Insurance Fraud Unit, which announced a crackdown last year after SEPTA noticed a spike in fraudulent injury claims.