41 Charged in Massive Deer Collision Insurance Scam

Cops: Philly body shop owner made an art of it
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 29, 2014 5:53 PM CDT
41 Charged in Massive Deer Collision Insurance Scam
This undated photo provided by the Philadelphia District Attorney Office shows Ronald Galati Sr.   (AP Photo/Philadelphia District Attorney Office)

Insurance companies must have thought deer were overrunning the city of Philadelphia based on the number of accidents being reported. Turns out, those "accidents" were the work of a criminally imaginative body shop owner, say prosecutors. They charged 63-year-old Ron Galati and 40 other people—including his wife, his son, a former city cop, a soon-to-be-former city worker, tow-truck drivers, and insurance adjusters—with an elaborate scheme to concoct accident reports involving fictitious deer collisions, reports NBC Philadelphia. They also filed bogus claims involving "geese, dogs, cartons of fruit, flying metal and falling concrete," says the DA's office, as per Philadelphia Magazine.

But deer were the apparent specialty, with Galati allegedly keeping deer blood and carcasses at American Collision and Auto Center to use in staged photos, or "Hollywood photos," as the DA says he called them. "I live my life to cheat insurance companies," Galati often said, according to grand jury witnesses. "My high every day is to cheat insurance companies." He and his crew reportedly raked in $5 million over the years, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer, which notes that it wasn't hard to track down Galati for the charges. He has reputed mob ties and is already being held without bail on charges that he paid to kill three people, including his daughter's boyfriend, reports the Philadelphia Daily News. (More weird crimes stories.)

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