Deer Blood, City Contracts, and a Wannabe Mobster Named Ron Galati

DA Seth Williams says Galati could get more than 1,200 years on new charges filed Wednesday.

Ronald Galati Sr., his son, and former city employee Robert Otterson were charged Wednesday with a $400,000 insurance fraud scheme, but that's just the beginning of Galati's dossier.

Ronald Galati Sr., his son, and former city employee Robert Otterson were charged Wednesday with a $400,000 insurance fraud scheme, but that’s just the beginning of Galati’s dossier.

We’re going to go out on a limb and say that 65-year-old Ron Galati Sr. is one of those people you probably don’t want to be actual friends with but he’d be a most interesting addition to any dinner party. Alas, he’s not going to be seeing the light of day anytime soon.

On Wednesday morning, Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams announced that Galati has been charged with participating in an insurance scheme that Williams says defrauded the city of more than $400,000. Also charged were Galati’s son, Ron Galati Jr., and former city employee Robert Otterson.

According to Williams, Otterson used his position in the city’s Fleet Management department to direct business to South Philadelphia auto body shop American Collision, which was owned by Galati Sr., even though American Collision didn’t meet the criteria for getting the required contract.

Although Galati’s business was listed as a secondary repair facility, the shop got far more work than did the primary shop, and investigators found red flags in 182 of those jobs handled by American Collision. A job that should have taken less than 60 hours of labor was billed at 200 hours, and American Collision allegedly billed the city for parts that the city says it provided to the shop to complete the work.

When the Insurance Fraud Unit at the District Attorney’s office searched Otterson’s home, they say they found fragments of burned estimates in a fire pit as well as receipts for a $2,000 watch, a $9,000 motorcycle, and receipts for multiple guns that Otterson purchased using cash.

Galati Sr., Galati Jr., and Otterson have each been charged with two counts of theft, one count of receiving stolen property, one count of criminal conspiracy, and 178 counts of tampering with public records. If convicted on all counts, they could each get as many as 1,280 years in prison. Of course, they’d never actually get that much, but prosecutors love throwing around those big numbers.

If the Galati name sounds familiar to you, we’re not a bit surprised. In 2014, D.A. Williams announced charges against 41 people for a different insurance fraud scam that involved using deer carcasses and deer blood — yes, you read that right — to stage phony deer collisions and then getting insurance companies to pay out on the subsequent claims. The alleged ringleader? Yep, Ron Galati Sr.

In that case, he’s also been accused of paying tow truck drivers to vandalize the vehicles of previous customers so that he’d get more work out of them. The charges announced on Wednesday will be lumped in with the old ones, and Galati Sr. is expected to go to trial in September. Should be a doozy.

Of course, Galati is already serving a lengthy prison sentence. Last year, he was sent away for more than 22 years for hiring hitmen to take out — and by “take out” we mean murder — his daughter’s boyfriend. The boyfriend is still very much alive, much to Galati’s chagrin, and to add insult to injury, the daughter testified against dear old dad at trial. That’s gotta hurt.

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