Pa. AG Charges Former Prison Guard and SEPTA Worker with Fraud

February 16, 2006

A former SCI Chester Corrections Officer and former SEPTA employee waived his preliminary hearing Monday on charges that he repeatedly forged the signatures of his doctor and a SEPTA Employer Records Clerk, to illegally collect thousands of dollars on bogus disability claims in Pennsylvania.

Attorney General Tom Corbett said agents from the Insurance Fraud Section charged John Ebo Jr., 40, of Philadelphia, with two counts each of Insurance Fraud, Theft by Deception and Forgery. Ebo was arrested late January and released on $10,000 unsecured bail.

The charges state that Ebo, while employed by SEPTA submitted two fraudulent disability insurance claims for non work related injuries. The paperwork submitted to Transamerica Insurance Company allegedly contained the forged signatures of Ebo’s doctor and a SEPTA Employer Records Clerk. The doctor’s section of the alleged false claim confirmed that the defendant suffered back injuries and was receiving treatment. The employer section of the alleged false claim confirmed that the defendant was disabled.

The Commonwealth contends that the sections were filled out by Ebo and that the information contained in them was false.

Transamerica paid Ebo $4,800 on his first claim in 2001 that stated he was unable to work for a four month period. Transamerica then paid Ebo more than $34,000 in disability benefits on a second claim in 2002 that stated he was unable to work for nearly two years. According to the charges, Ebo collected disability payments even though he didn’t suffer a non work related injury.

Transamerica said it became aware of problems with Ebo’s claims following a routine check of his work status.

In February 2004, the defendant’s then wife and SEPTA bus driver Angelette Alston, 35, filed her own disability claim. That paperwork allegedly included the forged signatures of the same doctor and same SEPTA records clerk that appeared on Ebo’s claims.

According to the charges, Alston in February 2004 allegedly asked to be placed on unpaid leave with SEPTA, claiming that she was unable to work due to emotional difficulties from a miscarriage. Alston returned to work in June 2004. In her first week of leave, Alston allegedly filed a disability claim with Transamerica stating that she was unable to work after breaking her fingers while playing basketball.

Alston allegedly filed additional forms that extended her coverage through August 2004 that claimed she still could not work even though she returned to work June 1, according to the charges. Transamerica paid Alston more than $10,000 in disability benefits for that six month period. The charges state that Alston did not have a miscarriage and did not injure her fingers.

Alston and Ebo were arrested in December 2005 and charged criminally with one count each of Insurance Fraud, Theft by Deception, Conspiracy and Forgery for allegedly filing the bogus 2004 disability claim using the same forged signature of Ebo’s doctor and SEPTA Employer Records Clerk.

Investigators said the SEPTA records clerk, whose alleged forged signature appeared on Alston’s disability claim, no longer worked at SEPTA at the time the form was submitted.

Ebo was terminated from his probationary job at the prison following his first arrest. In that case he was released on $20,000 unsecured bail. Ebo remained unemployed at the time of his second arrest in late January. On those charges, he was released on $10,000 unsecured bail.

Alston was released on $10,000 unsecured bail and is awaiting a March 6 preliminary hearing. Alston allegedly told investigators that Ebo agreed to help file her claim to try to pay off his gambling debts.

Ebo is scheduled for formal arraignment on all charges April 13, 2006. Both defendants will be prosecuted in Delaware County Court by Deputy Attorney General M. Eric Schoenberg of the Attorney General’s Insurance Fraud Section.

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