Duryea Cop Faces Fraud, Oppression Charges
A Duryea police sergeant is suspended with pay after police said he intervened in a crash involving his wife and filed a fraudulent insurance claim.
Charges against Michael Rosemellia, 33, 601 New St., Duryea, come two months after his wife, Michele, called him to the scene of an Old Forge crash on May 18. Despite being off duty, he identified himself as a officer and told the other driver not to call authorities to file an official report, Old Forge police wrote in a criminal complaint.
He also lied to his insurance carrier, Erie Insurance, about who was driving his 2017 Acura RDX at the time of the crash, telling the insurer it was his mother-in-law, Judy Wroblewski, instead of his wife, who did not have a valid driver’s license. He received a check from Erie for $3,686.08, police said.
During a July 13 interview with Old Forge police, Rosemellia said his wife, Michele Rosemellia, called him after she was involved in the crash. Michele Rosemellia’s driver’s license was DUI suspended and medically recalled, police said.
Since there were no injuries, Michael Rosemellia told police he had his wife and the other driver, Lawrence Papi, address unknown, exchange insurance information and that the parties agreed to submit the claim to their respective policy holders.
Papi told police that Michael Rosemellia produced a badge, identified himself as a police officer and said he would “take care of the accident,” the complaint reads.
Michael Rosemellia denied doing so during the July 13 interview.
He also said he was unaware at the time of the crash that his wife’s license was suspended.
The crash was never officially reported to police.
Michael Rosemellia also denied reporting the crash to Erie, saying his wife did. When asked how his wife could have reported the crash without a valid license, Michael Rosemellia said he “had no idea,” police said.
Documents that Erie provided police indicate that Michael Rosemellia filed a claim for the accident May 18 and reported Wroblewski was driving the Acura with his permission when the crash occurred. Wroblewski also told Erie she was driving the vehicle and that there were no passengers.
While Erie indicated conflicting information in reports by Wroblewski and Papi, the insurer sided with Michael Rosemellia since there was no official police report to determine fault or details. He received the check on June 25, police said.
Papi, however, told police the driver of the Acura was an approximately 30-year-old blonde female. When shown a picture of Wroblewski, Papi said he had never seen her before. Moreover, Papi told police he was not reimbursed by Michael Rosemellia’s insurance policy because their claim determined he was at fault, per the complaint.
During a Thursday phone conversation with Old Forge police, Wroblewski said she was driving the Acura when the crash occurred and that her daughter, Michele Rosemellia, was a passenger in the vehicle. When asked why she didn’t report that to Erie, police said Wroblewski requested an attorney and ended the call.
Reached Saturday, Old Forge Police Chief Jason Dubernas said the investigation is ongoing.
Michael Rosemellia was arraigned Friday on a felony count of insurance fraud for making a false claim and a misdemeanor count of official oppression. He was released on $5,000 unsecured bail and his preliminary hearing is scheduled for Monday.
Duryea Mayor Keith Moss would not comment on the charges, but said Rosemellia is suspended with pay pending an internal investigation.
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