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DA: Woman falls on SEPTA bus, 6 claim injuries (PHOTOS)

Clarence Wright, Jr., 62, of the 3100 block of N. Marston Street, is charged with Insurance Fraud, Criminal Conspiracy and Attempted Theft by Deception.

December 10, 2012 3:03:16 PM PST
The Philadelphia District Attorney said six people filed false injury claims against SEPTA after a woman tripped and fell on a bus.

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The DA said the incident happened on Thanksgiving night in 2010.

According to investigators, the woman involved fell while walking to the rear of the bus. The bus had not been in an accident, the DA said, and there were no sudden maneuvers that would have caused her to fall.

Paramedics were called to the scene, but the woman refused treatment and declined to go to the hospital.

The only other person on the bus at the time was 62-year-old Clarence Wright, Jr. of the 3100 block of N. Marston Street.

Still, the DA said, the woman who fell, along with Wright and five other people, filed personal injury claims against SEPTA.

SEPTA officials, suspecting insurance fraud, sent the matter to the DA's Insurance Fraud Unit. Investigators from the IFU reviewed the interior and exterior surveillance cameras from the Route 56 bus and found no evidence to support the claims.

Those investigators say Wright allegedly recruited people who were not on the bus to file claims, and he was paid a $250 fee for each of the recruits by the attorney who represented them.

The name of that attorney was not released.

The investigation determined that the woman who fell did suffer some injury as a result of the incident and she is not facing any criminal charges.

All six defendants were arrested last week. They are:

Clarence Wright, Jr., 62, of the 3100 block of N. Marston Street
Joseph Anderson, 59, of the 1800 block of N. 27th Street
Jeanette Sommerville, 56, of the 3100 block of N. 24th Street
Donnell Green, 47, of the 2700 block of N. 23rd Street
Bernard Robinson, 62, of the 3100 block of N. 24th Street
Rubin Lindsay, 52, of the 5700 block of Reedland Street

They are charged with Insurance Fraud, Criminal Conspiracy and Attempted Theft by Deception.

SEPTA said false injury claims have long been a recreational sport.

"They think falling on SEPTA or being injured on any of our vehicles or on our stations is like winning the lottery," said Jerri Williams of SEPTA.

SEPTA's state-of-the-art video surveillance system is catching more and more crooks. All of the train stations, two-thirds of the buses and all of the trolleys and trains are now outfitted with cameras. The rest of the buses will be wired by the end of next year.

SEPTA said the surveillance system is fueling a major crackdown on various forms of mass transit crime.

"The video is our best witness," said Williams.