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Man pleads guilty to insurance fraud

Published April 08. 2010 05:00PM

A Lehighton man has pleaded guilty to one count each of insurance fraud and giving false reports to law enforcement.

Travis Schrantz, 41, of 45 Church Street, Lehighton, waived his right to a preliminary hearing Wednesday before District Judge Bruce Appleton of Palmerton.

Schrantz faced charges of insurance fraud, false reports to law enforcement, and theft by deception.

He entered into a stipulation to plead guilty to the count of insurance fraud, and false reports to law enforcement. As a result, the charge of theft by deception was dropped.

Schrantz will now have his case heard before the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania on May 11.

He is currently free on $1,000 bail on $10,000, 10-percent bail.

According to the affidavit of probable cause filed by Chief Thomas Beltz of Franklin Township:

At 3:14 p.m. July 22, Schrantz appeared at the township police station to file a report for damage to his vehicles, according to the affidavit.

Schrantz claimed he parked his vehicle, a 2007 Chevrolet pick up truck, in his driveway at about 7 p.m. July 21, the affidavit says.

When he left his home at about noon on July 22, he found all four tires on his vehicle were flattened.

Beltz then asked Schrantz where the damaged tires were, and he stated some were at his home and some were at Snyder Tire in Lehighton. Beltz then went to Snyder Tire Co. and spoke with Mrs. Snyder.

Subsequent to the false report incident, Beltz contacted Liberty Mutual Insurance Company on July 23, and was told a claim investigator, Anthony Capozzi, was already assigned to the case.

On Jan. 15, Beltz went to Snyder Tire Co. and received copies of estimates that were submitted to Liberty Mutual Insurance Company for tires that Schrantz claimed were damaged.

There were five estimates that Snyder Tire provided to Schrantz. Of all the estimates given to Schrantz, only one purchase was made for four tires.

But, that invoice did not match the estimate, and the tires in that incident were purchased the same day as the estimate was given. The receipt was not provided to Liberty Mutual, only the estimate.

Capozzi provided documentation of seven claims that were paid to Schrantz beginning on April 14, and ending on July 21. In each event, Schrantz submitted an estimate for tires and was subsequently paid for those estimates.

Capozzi then asked for receipts of payment, and there were none. Capozzi also asked where the tires were purchased, and in some events, was told it was Snyder Tire.

However, Snyder Tire had no record of a tire purchase, except for the one dated April 16, in which four tires were purchased in the amount of $456.

In addition to that amount, there was a $4 public transportation tax, and sales tax of $27.36. The total amount paid was $487.36, which did not match the estimate that Schrantz was paid of $656.96.

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