41 People Charged with Car-Deer Collision Insurance Fraud in Philadelphia

Deer all over Philadelphia were being framed for car accidents they had no part in. Forty-one people have been charged in an insurance fraud case in Philadelphia that involved faking car-deer collisions, Insurance Journal reports. The owner of American Collision and Auto Center, Ron Galati, 63, kept deer hair, blood and carcasses at his body shop in order to fake deer damage. The fraud scam involved Galati's family members, tow truck drivers, a Philadelphia police officer and insurance adjusters.

Galati allegedly coached customers involved in accidents with other vehicles to report them as car-deer collisions. Insurance companies consider car-deer collisions to be "no fault" accidents and will pay claims without raising premiums. Deer hair, blood, carcasses and weeds and grasses gathered by Galati's employees were used to stage what he called "Hollywood photos" of the bogus accident. Galati worked with a former police officer who would falsify reports and two insurance adjusters who wrote inflated estimates as part of the scam.

Although car-deer collisions were something of a shop specialty, other fake claims involved "geese, dogs, cartons of fruit, flying metal and falling concrete" according to the Philadelphia District Attorney's office, which conducted a 16-month investigation of the case. The fraud alleged to cost insurers up to $5 million.

"I live my life to cheat insurance companies -- my high every day is to cheat insurance companies," Galati often said, according to grand jury witnesses.