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Wednesday, 10 July 2019 15:58

Four Sentenced for False Claims in Falls Township, PA, Gas Station Mishap

Written by Kara Seymour, Levittown, PA, Patch

Four Bucks County residents who filed fraudulent claims seeking reimbursement for damage to vehicles that did not occur have pleaded guilty to insurance fraud charges, authorities with the Bucks County District Attorney's office said.


The four people filed the false claims after a June 2017 fuel-delivery mix up at a Shell gas station on New Falls Road, Falls Township, PA.


A fuel supplier accidentally filled an underground storage tank for regular gasoline with diesel fuel, causing legitimate damage to a number of vehicles. The gas station has since gone out of business.


However, the four charged filed false claims in an attempt to profit from the incident, which garnered significant media attention.


Robert Watts Smith, 63, of Bristol Township will serve six to 23 months in the Bucks County Correctional Facility with a concurrent three-year probation. Authorities said he received more than $20,000 from State Auto Mutual Insurance as a result of his fraudulent claims involving multiple vehicles. Smith pleaded guilty June 20. He will report to jail July 19. In addition to jail time, he also must pay $22,521 in restitution.


Bristol Township resident Shamsideem Aleem Darden, 40, was sentenced to five years of probation and ordered to pay $19,554 in restitution. He pleaded guilty April 3 in connection with charges stemming from two false claims. In one, he claimed his Lexus' engine was replaced as a result of damage from the mix-up. In a second claim, he stated his Cadillac SRX experienced extensive damage.


David Brian Schilling, 52, of Falls Township received $13,152 after saying his car needed a new engine. He pleaded guilty March 7 and was sentenced to three years of probation. He also must pay back the full amount he received as restitution.


James Christopher Wedul, 45, of Bristol Township, claimed the tainted fuel damaged his Cadillac CTS and received $3,690 from the gas station's insurance company to cover repairs.


Investigators discovered Wedul did not own a Cadillac and instead had a Ford minivan. Wedul pleaded guilty April 18 and was sentenced to three years of probation. He also must pay back the full amount he received.


We thank the Levittown, PA, Patch for reprint permission.



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