Insurance Adjusters Accused of Stealing More Than $300K From Philly Homeowners - NBC 10 Philadelphia

Insurance Adjusters Accused of Stealing More Than $300K From Philly Homeowners

The suspects are all charged with insurance fraud, theft by deception, forgery, conspiracy and bad checks

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Insurance Adjusters Accused of Stealing $300K From Philly Homeowners

    Two insurance adjusters and another worker are accused of stealing more than $300,000 from vulnerable Philly homeowners. NBC10's Denise Nakano speaks to one of the victims.

    (Published Wednesday, July 10, 2019)

    What to Know

    • Police arrested two insurance adjusters and another worker accused of stealing more than $300,000 from 30 Philly homeowners.

    • Anthony Hoffman, Deborah Felix and Hartman Wismer are all charged with insurance fraud and other related offenses.

    • Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner said more victims could still be out there.

    Police arrested two insurance adjusters and another worker accused of stealing more than $300,000 from vulnerable Philly homeowners.

    Anthony Hoffman, the owner of Ace Public Adjusters on the 7900 block of Frankford Ave., his stepdaughter Deborah Felix and Felix’s fiancé Hartman Wismer, are all charged with insurance fraud, theft by deception, forgery, conspiracy and bad checks.

    The three suspects allegedly targeted 30 homeowners, many of them elderly, who wanted to repair their homes but needed help recovering money from their insurance companies.

    During one incident, an 81-year-old woman whose home was damaged by burst water pipes, met with Hoffman and signed a contract for Ace to represent her claim, investigators said. Under an agreement, Ace was to earn 15 percent of the settlement for assisting with the claim. After the homeowner died, her daughter became executor of the estate.

    Between Feb. 13, 2018 and Nov. 27, 2018, the home’s insurer issued seven checks totaling more than $127,000 to Ace as a settlement. Investigators said three of the checks were signed and cashed by Ace at a local check cashing agency but Ace did not give the estate’s executor her fair portion of each check.

    Ace periodically issued 20 separate payment’s totaling $90,774 to the woman’s family between July 19, 2018 and Dec. 1, 2018, according to officials. Ace also allegedly issued the homeowner three checks, totaling more than $13,000 which were returned for insufficient funds. The woman’s daughter said Ace breached their contract by not providing the family their fair portion of the insurance settlement and that she was still owed $36,251.

    Another woman, Evon Butler, said she never saw a dime of the $24,000 allocated to her by her insurance company after her home was damaged by a storm.

    “I don’t know where I’m going to go,” she said. “I have no clue.”

    After an investigation, the Pennsylvania Insurance Department revoked the licenses of Hartman and Wismer.

    Ace went under at the start of the year. A sign at the door of the business stated it was due to a family emergency and they’d be back. The building is currently up for sale however.

    Hoffman is in federal custody for federal income tax charges while Felix and Wismer turned themselves in.

    Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner said there may be more victims out there.

    “If there are we hope to hear from them,” Krasner said. “We believe they aren’t the only public adjusters who embarrass their profession by taking advantage of vulnerable people. And this office wants to hear about it.”

    Photos of the three suspects. See full-sized photo here.