Owner of towing company charged with insurance fraud
by The Indiana Gazette on September 08, 2016 10:58 AM
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FORD CITY, PA— An Indiana-area tow-truck operator has been accused of overbilling insurance companies for services related to three traffic accidents in 2015 in Armstrong County.
State police at Kittanning charged Max Mohney, 55, of Quincy Circle, White Township, with insurance fraud, theft of services and related charges in a complaint filed Wednesday in Ford City District Court.
According to the complaint, Mohney’s Towing billed insurance companies more than $18,000 in excess of normal charges for moving vehicles and controlling traffic at the scenes of traffic accidents in March 6, 2015, on Route 422 in Kittanning Township; April 9, 2015, in Rayburn Township; and May 28, 2015, at an unspecified location.
For each of the wrecks, Mohney’s billed insurance companies $1,200 for emergency response to an accident at the request of the state police.
“There is no such charge and is excessive to a minimum standard charge for a large wrecker to respond to a crash for two hours or less,” investigators wrote in the complaint.
In one instance, following an accident involving a coal truck, the billing included separate charges of $2,325 for a heavy wrecker operator and $1,237 for an on-scene supervisor when one individual performed those duties, police said.
“The on-scene supervisor was operating one of the two trucks and therefore was unable to manage the crash scene appropriately,” according to Trooper Alfonso Santucci.
In the complaint, troopers accused Mohney’s of billing insurance for $1,600 for traffic control at the three accident scenes when local volunteer firefighters actually handled those responsibilities.
The volunteer work is not billable, according to police.
The fraudulent billing also included charges for heavy equipment service provided by Rayburn Township street workers and Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, and for site and equipment clean-up expenses that Mohney’s should have assumed as “a cost of doing business,” Santucci charged.
The fees were billed once to State Farm Insurance and White Pine Insurance Company, and twice to Eastern Atlantic Insurance Company, according to the complaint.
Mohney was expected to appear this morning for preliminary arraignment on the charges, a court staff worker said.
In all, troopers charged him with four counts each of insurance fraud, deceptive business practices, theft by deception, theft by failure to make required disposition of funds and diversion of services. All are classified as third-degree felonies.