Man accused of fraud in claim his $42,000 vehicle was stolen in Upper Macungie
A Carbon County man lied to collect insurance in February when he reported his $42,000 construction vehicle stolen from an Upper Macungie Township work site, investigators said. (FILE PHOTO / THE MORNING CALL)
A Carbon County man lied to collect insurance in February when he reported his $42,000 construction vehicle stolen from an Upper Macungie Township work site, investigators said.
Christopher M. Snyder, 28, of Mahoning Township was charged with insurance fraud Wednesday, five days after two Lehigh County detectives found the vehicle a mile from Snyder’s home, authorities said.
Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin commended the detectives, Salvatore Aprile and Joseph Conway, for the investigative work.
“Insurance fraud is a crime that impacts all individuals who insure their property, not just the companies who pay out for false claims,” Martin said. “These payments result in increased rates for law-abiding citizens.”
Snyder on Feb. 16 notified Upper Macungie police and Nationwide Insurance, his insurer, that his skid-steer loader, a construction vehicle with lift arms, had been stolen from 6520 Stonegate Drive, detectives said.
The vehicle was valued at about $42,000. Nationwide paid Snyder about $7,000, and the rest of the insurance payout went to Powerco Inc., which had a lien on the equipment, detectives said.
On Friday, the detectives met with Snyder at his home in the 2300 block of Blakeslee Boulevard West, near Lehighton.
“Snyder reiterated his claim that the skid steer had been stolen and its whereabouts unknown,” the district attorney’s office said. But after the meeting, the detectives said, they came across a disabled skid-steer loader not far away.
“As a result of their investigation, it is alleged that it [the loader they found] was the one reported stolen by the defendant,” according to the the district attorney’s office. “Further, it is alleged that Snyder attempted to prevent identification of the skid steer through misrepresentation and concealment.”
In addition to insurance fraud, Snyder is charged with theft, alteration or destruction of a vehicle identification number, making false reports to law enforcement officers and making a false report of a vehicle theft.
He was arraigned Wednesday morning by District Judge Donna Butler, who released him on $20,000 bail.
A Carbon County man is facing insurance fraud charges after allegedly submitting a false claim that his $42,125 skid steer loader was stolen and receiving the compensation.
Christopher M. Snyder, 28, of Mahoning Township outside Lehighton, reported to police in February that his Case Skid Steer was stolen from a work site at 6520 Stonegate Drive in Upper Macungie Township, Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin announced.
Snyder allegedly also reported the theft to his insurance carrier, Nationwide Insurance, and filed a claim seeking compensation for the loss.
The value of the skid steer was determined to be $42,125. Nationwide paid the claim, distributing about $7,000 directly to Snyder and the remaining amount to Powerco Inc., which held a lien on the equipment, according to the district attorney's office.
Martin said that Detective Salvatore Aprile of the Lehigh County Auto Theft Task Force spoke with Snyder about the vehicle earlier this month, at which time he reiterated his claim that it had been stolen and its whereabouts were unknown.
After speaking with Snyder, Aprile and Detective Joseph Conway, also of the Auto Theft Task Force, saw a disabled skid steer about a mile from Snyder's home.
The detectives investigated the disabled vehicle and found it was the one reported stolen by Snyder, according to Martin's office. Further, Snyder allegedly attempted to prevent identification of the skid steer.
"Insurance fraud is a crime that impacts all individuals who insure their property, not just the companies who pay out for false claims," Martin said in a statement. "These payments result in increased rates for law-abiding citizens."
Snyder is facing multiple charges including insurance fraud and theft by deception.