Insurance Fraud Hearing Set for Former Pennsylvania Justice’s Daughter

By JOE MANDAK | August 20, 2014

The daughter of convicted former Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin is trying to enter a program designed for first-time offenders on an insurance fraud charge.

Casey Melvin, 26, of Wexford, has been scheduled for a hearing Sept. 5 before an Allegheny County judge to see if she qualifies for the program, according to online court records.

Melvin was charged last year with filing a false or fraudulent insurance claim. She allegedly tried to file the claim after crashing into a utility pole on March 29, 2012 even though her auto policy had expired that day. She paid $502 to have her coverage reinstated the day after they crash – March 30, 2012 – and then allegedly claimed that the crash occurred that day, not the day before, according to the Allegheny County district attorney’s office.

The September hearing is for a program called Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition, generally reserved for nonviolent, first-time offenders. Orie would not be required to plead guilty if she qualifies for the program, which is what Common Pleas Judge Robert Gallo must determine at the hearing next month.

If Melvin is accepted, she will be placed on probation. If Melvin completes that without incident, she can petition the court to expunge her arrest record.

Melvin did not immediately return an emailed message seeking comment. Her defense attorney, Amanda Kraft, did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Melvin is the daughter of Joan Orie Melvin, 58, who resigned from office last year and is appealing her conviction on campaign corruption charges.

Orie Melvin and her sister and former aide, Janine Orie, were convicted and sentenced to house arrest for misusing Orie Melvin’s own state-paid Superior Court staffers on her 2003 and 2009 campaigns for the state Supreme Court, as well as staffers of a third sister, former Sen. Jane Orie. Orie Melvin lost the 2003 election, but won a seat on the state’s highest court in 2009, only to have her family investigated for the campaign corruption allegations almost immediately upon taking office.

Jane Orie, the former senator, was released from prison in February after serving 75 percent of her 2 1/2-year minimum sentence for misusing her state-paid staff for her own campaigns and other charges. She was also tried, but acquitted, of having her staff campaign for Orie Melvin.

Jane Orie was convicted on March 26, 2012 – three days before Casey Melvin’s crash – which Casey Melvin mentioned, according to a partial transcript of her call to Progressive Insurance that’s included in a criminal complaint.

Melvin, in the recorded call from the crash scene, told the Progressive agent that she had forgotten to pay her premium because of that trial.

“My family is going through, um, there’s a public trial and I just was so out of it with everything going on … so we’ve been going through a lot.”

According to the transcript included in the 13-page criminal complaint, that’s when the Progressive agent first told Melvin her policy had lapsed.

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