Business insurance

AG’s office to investigate allegations of insurance fraud at Snyder County businesses: DA

MIDDLEBURG — The state attorney general’s office has agreed to investigate insurance fraud complaints involving the owners of three Snyder County businesses with financial problems.

District Attorney Michael Piecuch said Thursday that the AG’s office also accepted his dismissal of similar complaints about the former Wood-Mode Inc.

The referrals were made because the AG’s office has a section dedicated to insurance fraud and has the resources to investigate these types of allegations, he explained.

The allegations are that the money was withheld from employees but then diverted for other purposes, Piecuch said. He doesn’t know how much money could be involved, he said.

Workers at the former Wood-Mode said they received medical bills that should have been covered by insurance, he said.

The former Wood-Mode is unrelated to the current Wood-Mode which was established in August 2019 as a new company by Mifflinburg businessman Bill French.

Similar claims of insurance fraud have been received about three companies owned by Maurice Brubaker and his wife Deb, Piecuch said.

These are William Penn Cabinetry in Freeburg, Stanley Woodworking in Middleburg, and Wood-Metal in Selinsgrove, all in Snyder County.

Last Friday, Selinsgrove Institutional Casework, which does business as Wood Metal Industries, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The 20 largest unsecured claims according to a filing with the US Middle District Bankruptcy Court exceed $2.4 million.

The largest is $1.3 million owed to Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. from Washington, D.C.

The filing also indicates that there are more than 50 creditors and that the company has assets worth an estimated $1 million to $10 million.

Attempts to contact Brubaker, the owner of a Lewisburg tax and accounting firm, were unsuccessful.

He considered buying the old Wood-Mode, but instead bought what was then a custom wood cabinet maker in Snyder County. William Penn Cabinetry, which opened in 2020, secured a $500,000 SEDA Council of Governments loan for working capital.

Brubaker blamed supply chain issues and non-payment from customers as reasons for the factory closing in October and laying off 80 workers, but employees say poor management was the problem.

Several employees of Stanley Woodworking that the Brubakers bought in March 2020 have filed civil suits for benefits they claim they did not receive.

Complaints have also been filed with the state Department of Labor and Industry and the Pennsylvania Insurance Commission.

The owners of the William Penn and Wood Metal properties have started eviction proceedings for non-payment of rent.

Deb Burkhart has her own issues, having been accused of writing an NSF check for $700. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for February 17.

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