Daughter of Orie Melvin charged with insurance fraud

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The daughter of former Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin was charged Wednesday with insurance fraud after investigators say she lied about the date of an accident so it would be covered under her policy, which had lapsed for nonpayment.

Casey Melvin, 25, appeared Wednesday before Magisterial District Judge James J. Hanley Jr. and is scheduled for a preliminary hearing Oct. 18.

She was released on the third-degree felony charge on her own recognizance. The case stems from a one-vehicle car crash March 29, 2012, in Shaler.

Her attorney, Francis C. Rapp Jr., could not be reached for comment.

According to a police report, Ms. Melvin reported a crash at 12:54 p.m. that day in the 800 block of Butler Street.

Ms. Melvin told the responding officer that she was distracted when leaving Shaler Plaza and drove into a utility pole. Both air bags from her 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo deployed, and the vehicle sustained between $5,000 and $6,000 worth of damage.

According to the affidavit of probable cause, Progressive sent Ms. Melvin a notice of cancellation or refusal to renew March 12, noting that her payment had not been received and that coverage would lapse March 28 at 12:01 a.m.

Following the accident, at 12:57 p.m. March 29, Ms. Melvin called and renewed the insurance coverage, paying with her credit card.

"During that recorded call, at no time did Melvin disclose that her car, the subject of the insurance policy that she just renewed, had just been involved in an accident," the affidavit said.

During the call, Ms. Melvin was told there would be a gap in coverage from March 10 until March 30. Ms. Melvin asked what the gap meant, the affidavit said, and the Progressive representative answered: "Basically what that means is ... that if anything were to have happened during that time it wouldn't be covered by Progressive."

During the call, Ms. Melvin explained that her family had been going through a public trial, and that a verdict had been returned two days earlier.

"It wasn't my intent to do that at all," she said. "I'm sorry."

Ms. Melvin was referring to the trial of her aunt, former state Sen. Jane Orie, who had just been convicted of theft of services, forgery and tampering with evidence.

Ms. Melvin, according to the affidavit, asked if she could renew the policy without the gap but was told she could not.

Then, on April 4 at 12:44 p.m., Ms. Melvin filed an accident claim by telephone for her vehicle.

When asked when the accident occurred, the affidavit said, Ms. Melvin answered, "this past Friday," which was March 30.

In another call with Progressive after Ms. Melvin made the claim April 4, she claimed to the representative that her husband made the payment March 28. But the representative said company records showed it was March 29 at 12:57 p.m. The representative also said she'd retrieve the call to check the time stamp.

Ms. Melvin responded she didn't know if he made the payment online or on the phone.

The insurance company referred the matter to law enforcement April 12, 2012.

Ms. Melvin's mother, who is the sister of the senator, was found guilty of theft of services and conspiracy at a jury trial earlier this year and sentenced to serve three years house arrest.

The charges stemmed from employees of the senator and justice doing campaign work for the women on state time.

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Paula Reed Ward: pward@post-gazette.com or 412-263-2620. Twitter: @PaulaReedWard.


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