Kathleen G. Kane - Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General - Protecting Pennsylvanians

February 10, 2006

Attorney General Corbett Charges Lancaster County Family Doctor with Insurance Fraud

HARRISBURG - Attorney General Tom Corbett today announced that criminal charges were filed against a Lancaster County family doctor accused of falsifying an auto insurance claim and lying to his insurance company in an attempt to save $400 on his deductible.

Agents from the Attorney General's Insurance Fraud Section late yesterday charged Dr. Vu T. Nguyen, 31, of 241 Old Delp Road, Lancaster, with one count each of Insurance Fraud and Theft by Deception. 

Corbett said the charges allege that on Feb. 28, 2005 Dr. Nguyen filed a fraudulent insurance claim with the Progressive Insurance Company for damage to his 1999 Audi that he claimed occurred in January 2005.

The charges state that in December 2004 Dr. Nguyen brought his car to Autohaus, an Audi dealership, to obtain an estimate for damage to the vehicle's right quarter panel, tail lamp and bumper. Upon receiving the estimate, Dr. Nguyen, from the repair shop, called Progressive Insurance to request that his deductible be lowered from $500 to $100. On his way out of the dealership, the defendant allegedly said to the service advisor "Just act like I was never here."     

According to the charges, in January 2005, Dr. Nguyen allegedly reported to a Progressive Insurance adjuster that his car slid on an icy roadway and struck a curb. Nguyen allegedly told the adjuster that his vehicle suffered damage to the right side wheels and right wheel suspension. He also allegedly said that there was damage to the right quarter panel and tail lamp as well.

The criminal complaint alleges that the adjuster became suspicious when he determined that the damage to the right quarter panel and tail lamp was not consistent with the suspension damage and suggested that Dr. Nguyen file a separate claim. In the February 2005 claim, Dr. Nguyen allegedly lied about when the damage to the right quarter panel and tail lamp actually occurred and intentionally lowered his deductible prior to filing to avoid paying the higher amount.       
 
"It is illegal in Pennsylvania to falsify information on an insurance claim," Corbett said. "After an accident, it is also illegal to request a lower deductible and then proceed to file a claim for damages expecting to pay the lower deductible."  

Dr. Nguyen was arraigned yesterday before Leola Magisterial Justice Denise Commins who released him on $10,000 unsecured bail and scheduled a preliminary hearing for Friday, Feb. 17 at 1:30 p.m.

The defendant faces a maximum penalty of seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine for the felony count of Insurance Fraud, and a maximum of two years in prison and a $5,000 fine on the Theft by Deception charge.  

Dr. Nguyen will be prosecuted in Lancaster County by Senior Deputy Attorney General Mark A. Bellavia of the Attorney General's Insurance Fraud Section.

(A person charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty)

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EDITORS NOTE: A copy of the criminal complaint can be obtained by contacting the Attorney General's Press Office at 717-787-5211.