By Paul Kurtz
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Philadelphia Police officer and the son of a reputed mob boss are among 41 people caught up in an alleged insurance fraud operation run out of a South Philadelphia auto body shop.
KYW’s Paul Kurtz reports the accused ringleader is a reputed mob associate at the center of a murder-for-hire investigation.
District Attorney Seth Williams says 63-year-old Ron Galati used his South Philadelphia auto body shop to file phony insurance claims. Galati’s favorite tactic, says Williams, was to claim deer accidents.
“They actually kept deer carcasses at their shop and would pour deer blood over cars and they would simulate accidents and take photographs that they called Hollywood photos,” Williams said.
Cooperating witnesses told a grand jury that Galati gave tow truck drivers a list of his customers and had them go out and vandalize their vehicles so the customers would bring them back to the shop.
A 16-month investigation determined that two insurance adjusters were in on the scam along with police officer Douglas DiEmidio and Steven Ligambi, son of reputed mob Joseph Ligambi.
Insurance companies were allegedly bilked out of nearly $2.5 million. In addition investigators claims that Galati scooped up nearly $2 million from the city through a fraudulently obtained contract to repair police vehicles.
Galati is being held without bail pending his murder trial.