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McKeesport woman charged with insurance fraud

| Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

New insurance fraud charges have been filed against a McKeesport woman already awaiting trial on theft and forgery counts regarding the estate of a dead neighbor.

Mary R. Mechelli, 55, was named in an affidavit filed on Nov. 25 by Allegheny County detectives with Magisterial District Judge Eugene F. Riazzi Jr.

On Friday a spokesman for county District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. released the affidavit that details the filing of one felony and five misdemeanor counts of insurance fraud.

“Defendant's counsel is aware of the new charges,” Zappala spokesman Mike Manko said, “but thus far his client has failed to contact us about surrendering so there is an active warrant for her arrest.”

On Sept. 27 Mechelli waived to trial charges that she forged documents to take control of the estate, bank account and end-of-life decisions for Margaret Dorn, who died in 2010 at age 79.

“I don't think Miss Mechelli did anything wrong,” her attorney Patrick Thomassey said after an appearance in Pittsburgh before Magisterial District Judge Gene Ricciardi.

At that time she was charged with three felony theft counts, three felony forgery counts and misdemeanor charges of providing unsworn falsification to authorities, tampering with public records or information and insurance fraud.

Those 10 counts were filed against her by a grand jury in July.

According to the grand jury documents, Mechelli used a letter prepared by her attorney, Michael Carr of the law firm Jones, Gregg, Creehan & Gerace, to falsely present herself as owner of Dorn's house.

“The documents were not prepared by my client,” Thomassey said. “There's a big hole in their case.”

The new charges stem from interviews detectives from Zappala's office had with various insurance agents.

The felony count alleges that Mechelli called herself Dorn's daughter as she made a property loss claim with a McKeesport agent.

The misdemeanor counts sum up alleged actions Mechelli took with Hanover and Fair Plan insurance companies. She allegedly listed herself as having power of attorney over Dorn's affairs and rented out Dorn's house.

Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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