An insurance adjuster has been charged with pocketing a $722,000 settlement meant to pay for repairs at an East Frankford manufacturing plant.
Philly Rubber Inc., which makes gaskets and other foam and rubber products, hired Zenith Public Adjusters after a sprinkler pipe burst in January 2019, causing severe water damage to the company’s facility at 4501 Tacony St.
Zenith was supposed to negotiate Philly Rubber’s insurance claims. Instead, the District Attorney’s Office said, the firm’s owner, Michael Shelly, stopped returning the manufacturer’s calls and didn’t show up to the Zenith’s office in Broomall.
Philly Rubber learned its claim had been closed and found multiple settlement checks had been cashed by Shelly, authorities said. Later, he claimed he would send the money but never followed through, according to the DA’s Office.
Prosecutors charged Shelly, 45, with insurance fraud, forgery and multiple counts of theft. He turned himself in on Jan. 16.
The case could end with a plea bargain. Shelly’s attorney, Fortunato Perri Jr., told the Times his client “will accept responsibility for his conduct and make every effort to see that the victim in this matter is made whole.”
Perri Jr. added that a decision hasn’t been made as to whether Shelly will plead guilty to the charges.
DA Larry Krasner credited investigators in his office “for doing the important work of seeking justice for individuals and small businesses that get fleeced by dishonest actors like Michael Shelly.”
Anyone who believes they may have been a victim of Shelly or Zenith Public Adjusters can contact the DAO’s Insurance Fraud Unit at 215-686-9902. ••