In Pa., ‘The Family’ Charged in Slip-and-Fall Scam

June 8, 2004

Six people, including three siblings, were charged with insurance fraud for what authorities called a long-running slip-and-fall scam in the Altoona, Pa. area.

Attorney General Jerry Pappert said that the group, which called themselves “The Family,” defrauded insurance companies by staging accidents at dozens of central Pennsylvania restaurants, grocery and convenience stores, bars and coin-operated laundries over the course of at least a decade.

Pappert said the group used multiple Altoona-area mailing addresses to disguise the scheme. The individuals would witness each others’ “accidents,” and when members were hospitalized they would ask that the insurance check be sent to the individual, then fail to pay the medical bill.

Siblings Janet Betar, Patricia Yeager and Richard Frye were jailed in lieu of $50,000 cash bail, along with Thomas Miller and Travis Brickner, all of Logan Township, Blair County. A sixth suspect, Charles Colson, already was in custody at the State Correctional Institution-Dallas on unrelated charges.

Each faces multiple counts, including insurance fraud, theft by deception, conspiracy and participating in a corrupt organization. It was unclear if the defendants had attorneys.

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