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Tow Truck Driver Sentenced to More Than Seven Years in Prison for Insurance Scam

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American Government

Tow Truck Driver Sentenced to More Than Seven Years in Prison for Insurance Scam

U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of Pennsylvania
April 29, 2009

PHILADELPHIA—Jerry Blassengale, 36, of Philadelphia, was sentenced today to 87 months in prison for an insurance fraud scheme that cost insurance companies more than $975,000, and for assault on a federal officer, announced United States Attorney Laurie Magid. Blassengale pleaded guilty, on July 24, 2008, to 11 counts of mail fraud and one count of wire fraud.

Blassengale, a tow truck driver, was indicted in June 2007, along with Philadelphia Highway Patrol Officer Drexel Reid, Jr. Between August 2003, and May 2007, Blassengale solicited people to be involved in staged or completely fictitious accidents and fictitious vandalism claims for purposes of submitting fraudulent insurance claims. Reid would create false police reports to send to insurance companies for which Blassengale paid him. Blassengale staged a total of 11 phony events for which claims were sent to the respective insurance companies.

When FBI Special Agent Bryan Pacchioli attempted to arrest Blassengale for the fraud scheme, the defendant led Pacchioli on a high-speed chase down I-95 and eventually sideswiped Pacchioli’s vehicle. Blassengale was then, additionally, charged with assault on a federal officer. Although he pleaded guilty to the fraud counts in the indictment, he chose to go to trial for the assault charge and was convicted by a jury on October 16, 2008.

In addition to the prison term, Blassengale was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $ 446,191.19, a special assessment of $1,300, and was ordered to complete three years of supervised release. Reid is awaiting sentencing on nine counts of mail fraud, one count of wire fraud and one count of extortion under color of official right, to which he pleaded guilty in July 2008.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Insurance Fraud Unit in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Anthony J. Wzorek.

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