2 local women face insurance fraud charges

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HARRISBURG – A Franklin woman and a Cochranton woman are facing insurance fraud charges after an investigation conducted by the Office of Attorney General’s Insurance Fraud Section.

Erin Weckerly, 36, of 328 Rocky Grove Ave., Franklin, and Sandra Butler, 56, of 5059 Captain Williams Road, Cochranton, were among 43 individuals across Pennsylvania facing charges as part of a June sweep conducted by the Insurance Fraud Section.

The total potential fraud involved in the cases is more than $275,000, according to a press release from the attorney general’s office.

The cases are all pending, the release said.

Weckerly is charged with one count each of insurance fraud and criminal attempt to commit theft by deception.

Weckerly in December allegedly called Safe Auto Insurance to obtain automobile coverage for her vehicle, the AG’s office said. On the same day, she filed a claim related to a two-vehicle accident, according to the AG’s office.

Investigators said the accident occurred before Weckerly made the call to obtain the insurance policy.

Her bail was set at $5,000 unsecured.

Butler is charged with one count each of insurance fraud and criminal attempt to commit theft by deception. She reportedly attempted to file a claim with her automobile insurance provider, Allstate, following a single-vehicle accident that she was involved in during December, according to the AG’s office.

After Butler was informed that her policy had been canceled due to non-payment, she made a payment to reinstate the policy. Butler allegedly filed another claim roughly two weeks later in which she alleged the same facts of the initial claim.

Investigators said they determined the claim was fraudulent, the AG’s office said.

Butler was released on her own recognizance.

In 1990, the state legislature made insurance fraud a serious crime in Pennsylvania, punishable by heavy fines and stiff prison sentences.

In 1994, legislation was enacted in Pennsylvania establishing the Insurance Fraud Prevention Authority and a Fraud Trust Fund.

Private citizens can report allegations of insurance fraud using an online form or by calling the IFPA’s hotline at (888) 565-4372.