AG Files Insurance Fraud Charges Against Franklin Woman, Titusville Man

| November 3, 2017

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Attorney General Josh Shapiro yesterday announced criminal charges against 21 people in Western Pennsylvania following investigations by the Office of Attorney General’s Insurance Fraud Section.

The following local residents face insurance fraud charges:

Kenneth Sterling, 32, of Union Street, Titusville
Kari Bertolina, 34, of Arbor Circle, Franklin

The charges are part of a sweep conducted by the Insurance Fraud Section. In 2017 so far, the Office of Attorney General has charged 163 persons with insurance fraud, and Pennsylvania courts have ordered more than $774,500 in restitution be paid.

“Insurance fraud is a serious crime that impacts consumers and policyholders across our Commonwealth,” Attorney General Shapiro said. “We will aggressively prosecute anyone who breaks the law by providing false information to an insurance company. When people commit insurance fraud, it causes premiums to rise for the folks who follow the rules. It’s wrong, and we’re taking action to stop it.”

Defendants arrested in the recent sweep are charged with insurance fraud, a third-degree felony, and related charges. The cases are all pending.

In one case, Bonnie Shaner and Gordon Wade claimed $19,600.00 of property was stolen from Shaner’s parked, unattended vehicle. Their insurance claim reported the theft of various items, including a Sony Bravia LED TV and a Select Comfort Bed. Investigators determined the property that Shaner and Wade reported stolen was never sold to them or stolen from them. Both defendants admitted to forging or doctoring receipts submitted to their insurance company.

Another case involved Bahram Panahiazar, a representative at Western & Southern Financial Group, who created 22 fraudulent insurance applications between 2014 and 2016 to collect commissions. Panahiazar resigned after being confronted. He would have earned $17,000.00 in commissions for these fraudulent policies in just one year.

The following individuals have been charged with insurance fraud:

Stephanie Barron, 39, of Wilson Avenue, Butler
Shontae Bell, 29, of Ohio Avenue, White Oak
Kari Bertolina, 34, of Arbor Circle, Franklin
Alice Butler, 56, of Bosses Row, Crucible
Cynthia Demharter, 59, of Deauville Drive, Monroeville
Josh Edery, 33, of Short Street, Pittsburgh
Syntarah Emerick, 22, of Monroeville Boulevard, Monroeville
Tyler German, 25, of Nelson Road, Clearfield
Shawn Kenny, 50, of New Hampshire Avenue, Aliquippa
William Kuhn, 27, of Bevan Road, Pittsburgh
Craig Leech, 31, of Holland Street, Erie
Tarik Neal, 42, of Pleasantview Road, Smock
Marlin Ostrom, 24, of Chapel Drive, Ellwood City
Bahram Panahiazar, 62, of Cranberry Drive, Monroeville
Beth Robbins, 59, of North Oak Lane, State College
Bonnie Shaner, 56, of Roosevelt Way, Crabtree
Kenneth Sterling, 32, of Union Street, Titusville
Jessica Sweeney, 34, of West Main Street, Evans City
Malinda Taylor, 53, of McCloskey Lane, Mill Hall
Gordon Wade, 56, of Roosevelt Way, Crabtree
George Yurko, 53, of Payne Street, North Versailles

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