Elaborate parties thrown by a Philadelphia body shop have come to an end after 41 people were charged in what Philadelphia district attorney’s office prosecutors call a multi-million dollar car insurance fraud scheme.
According to the prosecution, Ronald Galati, Sr. and a group of co-conspirators scammed millions of dollars from insurance companies by faking Philadelphia auto accidents. The scheme was reportedly run out of Galati’s auto repair shop, American Collision and Auto Center, in Philadelphia. Co-conspirators alleged to be involved include a former police officer, former insurance adjusters, tow-truck drivers, and more.
American Collision began to bring suspicious claims to Progressive and Erie Insurance. When the Philadelphia district attorney’s office got word of these suspicious claims, it launched a 16-month grand jury investigation.
The allegations claim that Galati used his repair shop to file fraudulent insurance claims. Over the course of four years, victims’ policies paid out over $2.3 million. Each of the fraudulent claims would fall into one of five scenarios, including deer accidents, vandalism, damage from falling objects, enhanced damages, and staged car crashes in Philadelphia. Deer accidents, vandalism, and damages from trajectory objects were favored because they are considered non-fault accidents, so the insured would not be held liable.
Grand jury witnesses stated that Galati stored props, including deer blood, hair, and carcasses in his shop. Employees gathered the remnants along rivers in Pennsylvania. Then, American Collision employees took “Hollywood photos” to deceive insurance adjusters. This was also done with other objects, including geese, dogs, cartons of fruit, metal, and falling concrete.
The network of co-conspirators made it easy to carry this all out. The former police officer would write fraudulent police accident reports. The insurance adjusters inflated estimates. The conspirators received gifts or cash in exchange for participating in the scheme.