41 People Charged in Scheme To Fake Car Accidents With Dead Deer

Authorities in Philadelphia have charged 41 people for their involvement in an impressive, elaborate auto insurance fraud scheme that extends to city officials, police officers, and insurance company employees.

Ronald Galati Sr., who owns American Collision and Auto Center in south Philly, is accused of leading the operation (which includes his own wife and children) to falsify insurance claims and reap the financial gains. Together, they are accused of swindling insurance companies out of $2.3 million in payouts and by particularly elaborate means:

According to investigators, Galati Sr. routinely created false accounts of vehicles being damaged by accidents involving falling objects, deer, and other animals to increase amounts received for insurance claims. Investigators say Galati Sr. went as far as to have employees gather and store deer blood, hair and carcasses in the shop's garage to be used as props in photos that were later submitted with insurance claims.

Investigators also say that Galati even went so far as to devise car crashes and arrange for cars in his shop to be vandalized. He allegedly worked with a Philadelphia police officer, two insurance adjusters, and a team of tow truck drivers to corroborate the false insurance claims. And he is accused of having secured a lucrative $1.8 million contract with the city of Philadelphia by conspiring with an official at the Philadelphia's Office of Fleet Management.

Galati's influence was so pervasive, he became known for a his motto: "I live my life to cheat insurance companies — my high every day is to cheat insurance companies."

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