PHILADELPHIA — A Broomall insurance adjuster has been charged with fraud and related offenses for allegedly pocketing more than $722,000 from a city rubber products manufacturer, according to a release from Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner.
“As the owner of Zenith Public Adjusters, Michael Shelly had a responsibility to clients that included local businesses like Philly Rubber to help them with their insurance claims in a responsible and ethical way,” said Krasner. “Instead, Shelly stole Philly Rubber’s settlement checks.”
Shelly, 47, is charged with insurance fraud, forgery, theft by deception and theft by failure to make required disposition of funds, all felonies of the third degree.
Philly Rubber Inc., located on the 4500 block of Tacony Street, suffered extensive water damage to materials and machinery after a sprinkler pipe in the factory burst in January 2019, according to the release.
Shelly’s company, Zenith Public Adjusters, was contracted to negotiate insurance claims on behalf of Philly Rubber. Shelly inspected the damage, met with the owner of Philly Rubber several times, and provided water remediation services and assistance with the insurance claim, according to the release.
But Krasner claims Shelly at some point stopped responding to Philly Rubber’s phone calls and emails. In November, the owner of Philly Rubber learned that the insurance claim had been closed.
The owner of Philly Rubber discovered Shelly had cashed multiple settlement checks totaling more than $722,000, according to the release. Shelly eventually contacted the owners of Philly Rubber and agreed to send a check, but never did, the release says.
The owner and manager of Philly Rubber contacted Philadelphia detectives with the District Attorney’s office, which began an investigation. Shelly turned himself in to detectives Jan. 16 and was arraigned the same day, according to online court records. Bail was set at $12,500 unsecured.
Defense attorney Fortunato N. Perri Jr. did not respond to a call seeking comment Friday. A status conference is set for Feb. 24 in room 406 of the Juanita Kidd Stout Center for Criminal Justice.
Krasner is meanwhile urging anyone else who believes they may have been taken advantage of by Shelly or Zenith Public Adjusters to contact his office’s Insurance Fraud Unit at 215-686-9902.