Guilty: Faker who boarded bus after non-crash

If someone were to write Insurance Fraud for Dummies, it might include such advice as: Before you fake an injury, make sure there’s an actual crash.

Also, don’t get caught on video running a quarter-block to board a bus after an accident.

“It’s almost comical,” said Assistant District Attorney Linda Montag.

On Nov. 19, 2008, a SEPTA bus made contact with a taxi in the 1300 block of Walnut Street about 2 p.m., she said.

“It was a very small tap by a taxicab. There wasn’t even a scratch on the bus,” she said.

Yet three people – including two men who ran aboard after the incident – began claiming bodily harm.

On Monday, Ronald Moore, 37, of Philadelphia, pleaded guilty to fraud and conspiracy, and was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine and face two years probation.

Moore has nine aliases and convictions for drug, robbery and other offenses, according to court records.

“He claimed he was on the bus. He was not on the bus, and he was not hurt,” Montag said.

Video showed the bus driver leave the bus, then Moore and another man “run down the street, get on the bus and feign injuries, holding their backs,” the prosecutor said.

Moore filed a claim, but the other man didn’t, so he was never charged.

“I’m not a mind reader, but maybe he changed his mind,” Montag said.

Latanya Mathis, an actual passenger, was also charged with fraud and conspiracy, after allegedly lying about whacking her head on a window.

“When you viewed the video, she did not strike her head,” Montag said.

Mathis, 24, of Philadelphia, is due back in Common Pleas Court on May 24 for a pretrial conference.

SEPTA has declined to make the video public, at least until after the Mathis case is settled.

More than 9,000 claims for injuries or property damage have been made against SEPTA since the beginning of 2010, and nearly 5,000 have been settled in or out of court, according to spokeswoman Jerri Williams.

SEPTA pays about $35 million in claims each year, and about 40 percent of claims are settled without going to court, she said.

The injuries include individual accidents, such as falls at stations, which also have video cameras.

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