Auto repair shop, operator charged with fraud

Darryl Sewell, 42, and his Frank­ford re­pair shop, PSK Col­li­sion Cen­ter, are both fa­cing charges of for­gery, in­sur­ance fraud, theft by de­cep­tion and crim­in­al con­spir­acy. 

Darryl Sewell

The Phil­adelphia Dis­trict At­tor­ney’s Of­fice ar­res­ted a Frank­ford auto re­pair shop op­er­at­or on Sept. 9 for al­legedly mis­us­ing more than $13,000 in auto in­sur­ance re­im­burse­ments, while fail­ing to fix cus­tom­ers’ dam­aged vehicles.

Darryl Sewell, 42, and his re­pair shop, PSK Col­li­sion Cen­ter, are both lis­ted as de­fend­ants, fa­cing charges of for­gery, in­sur­ance fraud, theft by de­cep­tion and crim­in­al con­spir­acy, ac­cord­ing to the DA’s of­fice. The shop is on the 4800 block of Duf­field St. The pro­sec­utor did not dis­close Sewell’s home ad­dress.

The DA’s In­sur­ance Fraud Unit launched the in­vest­ig­a­tion after re­ceiv­ing two com­plaints from Trav­el­ers In­sur­ance Co. about sus­pect re­pair jobs per­formed by Sewell’s shop in 2011.

In Au­gust 2011, a Trav­el­ers cus­tom­er was in­volved in an ac­ci­dent with minor dam­age to the hood and front bump­er of her 2004 Honda Ac­cord. The in­sur­ance com­pany sent an ap­praiser to in­spect the car at the shop and val­ued the dam­ages at more than $4,300.

After Sewell’s shop worked on the vehicle, the cus­tom­er was dis­sat­is­fied with the res­ults and con­tac­ted the in­sur­ance com­pany. The vehicle own­er sup­plied the in­sur­ance com­pany with her own pho­tos of the car, which she took at the scene of the crash. Her pho­tos showed much less dam­age than the ap­praiser saw when he in­spec­ted the car at the shop, the DA’s of­fice said.

In ad­di­tion, the in­sur­ance com­pany had in­struc­ted the shop to re­place cer­tain parts on the vehicle, but the shop al­legedly re­paired those parts in­stead at a cost sav­ings to the shop. The shop did re­place oth­er parts, but in many cases used cheap­er af­ter­mar­ket parts, rather than cost­li­er Honda parts as dir­ec­ted by Trav­el­ers, ac­cord­ing to the DA’s of­fice.

On top of that, the shop al­legedly re­turned the car to the own­er with a dam­aged right fend­er, while Sewell al­legedly forged the vehicle own­er’s name on the in­sur­ance check is­sued by Trav­el­ers.

In a sep­ar­ate case, a dif­fer­ent Trav­el­ers cus­tom­er re­por­ted to the in­surer in Septem­ber 2011 that his 2011 Ford Es­cape had been van­dal­ized. The in­surer ap­praised the dam­age at more than $8,000 and is­sued a check in that amount to the vehicle own­er.

In Decem­ber 2011, the vehicle own­er no­ti­fied Trav­el­ers that the re­pairs still had not been com­pleted, al­though Sewell’s shop already had cashed the claim check, which the vehicle own­er denied hav­ing ever seen or signed. A Trav­el­ers ap­praiser went to the shop and con­firmed that none of the re­pairs had been com­pleted, the DA’s of­fice said. Rather than re­pla­cing nu­mer­ous parts as dir­ec­ted by the in­sur­ance com­pany, the shop al­legedly made “poor at­tempts to re­pair parts or re­place the parts with less ex­pens­ive af­ter­mar­ket parts.”

Sewell is sched­uled to ap­pear in Mu­ni­cip­al Court on Sept. 16 for a status list­ing. ••

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