Pennsylvania Man Gets Probation in Ivan Insurance Fraud

January 26, 2009

A western Pennsylvania man will spend four years on probation after confessing his role in an insurance fraud kickback scheme related to Hurricane Ivan and helping federal prosecutors convict another man.

Police say 51-year-old Michael Smarto of Marshall Township conspired to overstate the damage done to equipment at his business during the September 2004 flooding near Pittsburgh.

An insurance company paid more than $2 million to 55-year-old Raymond Pugliese of Leechburg, whose company cleaned the equipment for Smarto. Pugliese kicked back more than $320,000 to Smarto from the inflated claim and was convicted of conspiracy, mail fraud, and money laundering in September.

Pugliese is still awaiting sentencing.

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