Private Tipster Trips Up Slip-and-Fall, Says Pa. Fraud Unit

August 9, 2006

Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett has initiated criminal charges against a Lancaster County man in connection with an apparent “slip and fall” insurance fraud scheme.

Corbett said agents with the Attorney General’s Insurance Fraud Section identified the defendant as Donald Lee Lucas. Lucas was arrested and charged with one count each of insurance fraud and theft by deception.

According to the charges, Lucas, in May 2004, filed an insurance claim with Westfield Insurance Company stating that on Feb. 1, 2004, he was walking home from his brother’s house and on his way to get a newspaper, slipped and fell on the ice covered sidewalk in front of the Columbia Historical Society on South Street in Lancaster. Lucas claimed that he broke his ankle in the fall and required surgery. The insurance claim sought compensation for medical expenses, wage loss and other damages.

In January 2005, the insurance company claimed that it received a letter from the defendant’s attorney Christopher DeMarco, seeking $65,000 in reimbursement for Lucas. DeMarco also included the defendant’s medical records, photos of his ankle injury and pictures of the condition of the sidewalk at the time of the alleged accident.

According to the complaint, in July 2005 the Westfield Insurance Company and DeMarco agreed to settle the case in the amount of $15,000. Three months later, the Attorney General’s Insurance Fraud Section said it received a tip call from a private citizen that claimed Lucas lied to insurance representatives and filed a fraudulent claim.

“Agents investigating the tip call spoke to witnesses that stated Mr. Lucas actually fell while pushing his brother’s car out of the snow in an ally beside the American Veterans Club on Super Bowl Sunday,” Corbett said. “The claim that he fell in front of the Historical Society was an attempt to illegally fund his medical costs.”

Lucas was arraigned before Lancaster County Magisterial District Justice David P. Miller and was released on $10,000 unsecured bail. A preliminary hearing has been set for Sept. 20.

Source: Pennsylvania Attorney General