CLEARFIELD – A Mahaffey woman is facing charges for allegedly filing a false insurance claim after hitting a deer with her vehicle.
Cecilia L. Curry, 46, has been charged by the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General with one felony count of false/fraud/incomplete insurance claim and one misdemeanor count of criminal attempt/theft by deception-false impression.
Curry waived her right to a preliminary hearing during centralized court Wednesday at the Clearfield County Jail.
The investigation was initiated by the Western Regional Office of the AG’s Insurance Fraud Section based upon the referral of information from a special investigator with the Donegal Insurance Group, according to the affidavit of probable cause.
On Nov. 11, 2017, Curry submitted an accident claim to Donegal Mutual Insurance. She initially reported she was driving her 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander when she struck a deer on the Cecil Hurd Highway in Mahaffey.
During the appraisal, animal hair was found in the damaged area on the front passenger’s side. Damage was consistent with Curry’s report. After she was paid for the vehicle repair, Curry claimed that after impact, her vehicle swerved.
She said that this caused her vehicle to strike a tree limb and it damaged her driver’s side rear quarter panel.
Upon investigation of the claim, the insurance group found Curry was involved in another accident in December of 2016 with the same damage.
The 2016 claim was made to Allstate Insurance, which had already paid Curry for the repairs. Donegal Insurance’s investigator was able to obtain the Allstate file and found the damage reported was the same in the 2016 and 2017 claims.
The investigation revealed that Curry had made statements to Donegal Mutual Insurance in an alleged attempt to have the group pay for vehicle repairs for damage that had occurred in December of 2016.
It was noted that this damage was prior to Curry obtaining an insurance policy with Donegal Mutual Insurance. The amount of the attempted theft is approximately $861.25, according to the affidavit.
In March the AG’s Office reviewed the claim filed with Donegal Mutual Insurance. It indicated that on May 19, 2017, Curry purchased an automobile insurance policy from Donegal for her 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport.
On Nov. 11, 2017, she claimed that at 6:37 p.m. Nov. 10, 2017, she hit a deer while driving on the Cecil Hurd Highway. Upon impact, her vehicle sustained damage to its front passenger’s side. No injuries were reported, and police were not notified.
On Nov. 27, 2017, Curry’s vehicle was examined by Grieco Appraisal Services. Damage was noted to the front end, hood and front passenger’s side; a damage estimate was prepared with the total being $7,030.95.
In the appraiser’s report, he noted that there appeared to have been unrelated prior damage to the driver’s side rear door, rear quarter panel and tail lamp. These damages were not included in his appraisal.
After receiving the appraisal, Donegal Mutual Insurance settled the claim by making payment to Curry and Ebensburg Collision in the amount of $6,780.95. Curry had a $250 deductible, according to the affidavit.
On Nov. 28, 2017, Donegal Mutual Insurance was contacted by Curry’s boyfriend. He asked why she hadn’t received payment for damages to her vehicle’s driver’s side rear quarter panel.
He was advised that Curry hadn’t reported the damage to the insurance company. At that time, he claimed that she must have forgotten to and stated Curry had impacted an unknown object after hitting the deer.
On Nov. 29, 2017, Curry contacted the insurance company and reported that she had hit the deer, this made her vehicle swerve and then she hit a tree limb. She said the limb damaged the rear driver’s side area.
This damage was reviewed in the appraisal photographs. The driver’s side rear damage consisted of scratches and a few small dents from the rear door, across the rear quarter panel and fuel door.
An investigator was able to locate a previously reported loss to Allstate Insurance in December of 2016. An inquiry revealed that Curry was driving the same vehicle when she struck her parents’ mailbox.
Damage included the driver’s side rear door, rear quarter panel, tail light assembly and rear bumper. Allstate indicated the total damage amounted to $861.25. Photographs revealed damages reported to Allstate were similar to that reported to Donegal.
On Dec. 20, 2017, Curry was interviewed as part of the investigation. She acknowledged the vehicle was involved in a previous accident and repaired. She declined to provide information about the company that performed the repairs.
Later, she allegedly admitted that she didn’t impact a tree limb, as reported, and the damage was the same as what she had previously reported to Allstate Insurance.
On April 6, Curry was interviewed by investigators with the AG’s Office. She allegedly admitted that the driver’s side rear damage was not the result of the accident Nov. 10, 2017 and actually occurred in December of 2016 when she hit her parents’ mailbox.
She said that her boyfriend had called the insurance company and questioned why the rear driver’s side damage wasn’t included in the total damage estimate.
Afterward he informed her that she needed to call and explain how the damage had occurred. She proceeded to call and make the claim she had hit a tree limb or brush, causing the damage.
She admitted that it was a lie in an attempt to have Donegal Mutual Insurance pay for the damage that had been previously reported to Allstate Insurance.
Curry confirmed that she had hit her parents’ mailbox Dec. 29, 2016 with Allstate appraising the damage at $861.25. She also acknowledged that she was paid $461.25 because she had a $400 deductible.
On April 17, AG investigators interviewed Curry’s boyfriend. He said that he did contact Curry’s insurance company Nov. 28, 2017, because he felt it was taking too long to complete the repairs on the vehicle.
He also said that when he spoke with Ebensburg Auto about the repairs, he was asked about the damage to the driver’s side rear quarter panel area.
He explained that he wasn’t present at the time of the accident and wasn’t fully aware of the extent of the damage. When he called the insurance company, he questioned about this particular damage because it was brought to his attention by the auto garage.
Curry’s boyfriend went on to say he was aware of a scratch to her vehicle’s rear quarter panel area from striking her parents’ mailbox. However, he thought there was possibly new or more damage after speaking with Ebensburg Auto.