Berks insurance agent charged with fraud and forgery

A Maidencreek Township man has been charged with insurance fraud and forgery after state authorities allege he had purchased property insurance on behalf of people without their knowledge or consent while he was employed by Allstate last year.

Justin S. Heck, 24, of Block 100 of Cornerstone Drive, was charged July 6 by the state attorney general’s office with unlawful activity as an insurance broker/agent, forgery of documents and unlawful use of a computer.

He was free to await a post-indictment hearing before District Judge Gail M. Greth.

According to court documents:

The Attorney General’s Office received an insurance fraud referral from the National Insurance Crime Bureau after Allstate conducted an investigation into Heck, who was employed as a sales representative in the insurance market.

Heck is licensed in Pennsylvania to create liability and property insurance policies. He was hired by Allstate in November 2021 and became a sales representative in January 2022, where he managed operations from Briar Circle North in Kutztown.

Based on complaints from two non-customers who received mail about Heck-authored policies, Allstate reviewed new Heck-authored policies in May and June 2022.

It showed that Heck had written 62 policies during this period, including rental property insurance. Each should take effect within 60 days. Investigators determined that the policies were canceled at the effective date and no premium payments had been received.

Allstate extended its review to January 2022. It found that between January and April Heck had purchased 88 new policies, all with an effective date 60 days in the future, and all but two of those policies had been cancelled.

Allstate investigators couldn’t contact every alleged customer, so they based their conclusions on sample policies written by Heck.

They found the following similarities:

• Phone numbers provided by customers were disconnected, unreachable, or answered by someone claiming not to be an Allstate customer.

• Email addresses associated with the accounts were undeliverable.

• Most, if not all, of the policies have been sent to collection agencies.

Allstate’s review of a sample of tenant policies found that 39 out of 42 policies had deposits paid electronically. All of these payments were declined because the account number did not match a valid account number when the banks processed the transactions at the end of the business day, or because the account holder disputed the charge.

Special Agent Justin Uczynski interviewed the insurance company investigator and obtained records of 150 policies written by Heck.

Uczynski interviewed ten alleged policyholders, nine of whom said they had never purchased Allstate insurance and had never authorized Heck to purchase one on their behalf.

However, the majority of those he interviewed said they got a quote from Allstate when they bought insurance. All of this group said they ended up taking out a policy from another company.

Investigators did not disclose how Heck benefited from issuing policies that were canceled at the time they became effective.