Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams has lodged criminal charges against six
people for filing false personal injury claims against the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority over an incident that occurred two years ago.
On Thanksgiving night in 2010, according to the D.A.’s Office, a woman tripped and fell while walking to the rear of the SEPTA Route 56 bus while the vehicle was pulling into the Wakeling Street stop on Torresdale Avenue in Northeast Philadelphia.
The bus had not been involved in an accident or made any sudden maneuvers at the time of the incident, and no other passengers reported any injuries at the time, the district attorney’s office announced in a Dec. 10 news release.
In the ensuing weeks, the woman who fell as well as a handful of other SEPTA riders filed personal injury claims against the mass transit agency for injuries they alleged they received as a result of the Nov. 25, 2010, incident.
Accordingly to Williams’ office, however, only Clarence Wright, Jr., a.k.a. “Superman,” and the woman who claims she initially fell were actually on the bus at the time of the incident.
In addition to Wright, the others charged by Williams’ office were Jeannette Sommerville, Bernard Robinson, Joseph Anderson, Donnell Green and Rubin Lindsay.
The district attorney’s office stated that Wright, Sommerville, Robinson, Anderson, Green and the woman who fell all initially used the same attorney to submit their claims to SEPTA.
The mass transit agency subsequently referred the matter to the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office Insurance Fraud Unit for investigation of suspected insurance fraud, the D.A.’s announcement states.
The Route 56 bus, which is where the alleged incident took place, is equipped with surveillance cameras, Williams’ office stated, and SEPTA provided video footage to investigators who determined that the personal injury claims appeared to have been fabricated.
SEPTA ended up receiving $54,000 in medical bills in connection with the claims, the district attorney’s office stated, and the prosecutors’ investigation concluded that Wright allegedly recruited people who were not on the bus at the time to file claims and that he was paid a $250 fee for each of the recruits by the attorney who represented Wright.
The investigation further determined that the woman who initially claimed she fell did, in fact, sustain some injuries as a result of the incident, and she is not facing criminal charges, hence why her identity has not been released.
All six criminal defendants were arrested last week, Williams’ office announced.
The attorney who represented those who claimed to have been injured was not identified in Williams’ announcement.