DUBOIS – A DuBois man is facing charges for submitting the same accident damage to his insurance company twice.
James W. Shepler Jr., 41, was charged by the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General with felony counts of insurance fraud and theft by deception in connection with an insurance claim he made in January.
According to the affidavit of probable cause, in November of 2016, Shepler filed an insurance claim for front-end damage to his 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee.
An insurance field tech examined the vehicle and took photos of it before paying $3,137.18 in a check to Shepler for the damages. Shepler then removed this vehicle from his policy.
On Jan. 9, Shepler called his local insurance agent asking to have the vehicle put back onto his policy. She told him she wanted to inspect the vehicle before adding the coverage. He then declined.
This agent told investigators that Shepler had been a customer of hers for a few years during which he filed more claims than any other customer, according to the report.
Shepler called the insurance company’s 800 number on Jan. 10 and was able to get full coverage on the vehicle.
On Jan. 15 Shepler reported that he hit a tree and there was front-end damage to the vehicle.
The same insurance field tech inspected the Jeep and noticed the damages were identical to the ones he had seen previously. He pointed this out to Shepler who insisted the repairs had been made and the vehicle was also painted since then.
Shepler said he had fixed the vehicle himself although he did not have any proof he purchased any replacement parts, the tech told investigators.
Shepler was asked three different times by this employee if he was sure he wanted to follow through with the claim and Shepler confirmed he did.
The case was then reported to the insurance company’s special investigation unit. When Shepler was questioned again about the damages, he withdrew his claim and then removed the vehicle from his policy.
In an interview with investigators, Shepler allegedly admitted that he was trying to “double dip” and get paid for the same damages twice.
Shepler’s preliminary hearing is scheduled for Sept. 8 at 10 a.m. during centralized court at District Judge Patrick Ford’s office.