- Dean Smith
Philadelphia Pastor Arrested on Insurance Fraud Charges
According to CBS Philly, Teofilo Santiago, 57-year-old pastor in Philadelphia, has been arrested on charges of Arson, Insurance Fraud, Attempted Theft by Deception, Conspiracy and Causing or Risking a Catastrophe, after allegedly setting his 2004 Nissan Quest on fire and reporting the vehicle stolen to his insurance company.
On the night of March 20th, 2013, police responded to a call claiming there was a car on fire on the 2700 block of Emerald Street in Philadelphia. Police arrived to the vehicle fire minutes later.
Police used the VIN number to identify Santiago and contact him. Santiago claimed that the vehicle had been parked out front of his home and had no idea that it was missing.
Santiago submitted a claim through Nationwide Insurance on March 21st, 2013, and CBS Philly states Santiago reported that “his vehicle had been stolen and recovered by police as a burnt shell. He described the car as being in sound mechanical condition with no prior damage, and said he had two sets of keys to the car which were in his possession at the time of the alleged theft.”
Investigators began putting the pieces together. The Fire Marshall’s Office ruled the fire as arson, after the investigation showed that “an open flame had been applied to combustible material.”
Investigators also concluded that there was no force or manipulation of the vehicle’s anti-theft system, ignition, lock, or start switch. According to CBS Philly, “it also determined that the key with the correct transponder code was used to operate the Nissan.”
Nationwide decided that Santiago’s Nissan was valued at $7,547. But when he was approached in April by an investigator from Nationwide with the results from the investigation, he reneged his claim.
As of last month, Santiago has been arrested and facing the above named charges.