SEPTA Security Cameras Catch Staged Accident, Thwart Lawsuit
Another lawsuit prevented, yet again, with the help of security cameras. Osvaldo Reye-Santiago of Philadelphia, PA filed a lawsuit against SEPTA, claiming that he had been sitting on a stackable chair in the lobby of the Market Street headquarters when the back of the “defective” chair broke and/or separated, causing him to “suddenly and violently fall” to the ground.
According to FOX 29, SEPTA’s legal team immediately requested footage from a ceiling security camera stationed in their headquarters lobby. The video had a direct view of Reyes-Santiago, and appears to show his attempt to deliberately throw himself backward, tipping the chair, and falling to the ground.
Gino Benedetti, general counsel for SEPTA, stated, “Our first reaction was that he fabricated the incident. We didn’t see any signs of any defect or problem with the chair. We saw someone trying to stage an accident.”
Unbeknownst to Reyes-Santiago, SEPTA runs a massive monitoring operation just floors above where he staged the accident, and every single time an accident claim is submitted, footage from one of the 24,000 surveillance cameras can be accessed.
After being faced with that same video evidence, Reyes-Santiago dropped his civil suit, but has seen been charged in a criminal suit for attempted theft by deception and insurance fraud.
His reasoning for the attempted fraud? Money, obviously. But he claimed to have been homeless at the time of the incident and was looking to get out of the shelter. Reyes-Santiago now lives in an apartment in Philadelphia, but admits to seeing the opportunity, taking it, and confessed what he did was wrong.