Saturday, May 31, 2014

Dead Carcasses Behind Auto Body Shop

Here is a great example of how auto body shops can be some of the most creative and prolific fraudsters around.  In Philadelphia, a $5 million operation that ran on fraudulent collision claims was uncovered when Ronald Galati Sr. was accused of insurance fraud.  There were apparently 41 people involved.
The latest story indicates that several members of Galati’s family were involved, and the crazy part is that some insurance adjusters were involved in the fraud as well. 
Actually, the crazy part involves the storage of dead deer carcasses at the rear of this body shop.  Can you imagine the smell? 
Apparently, this guy was storing dead deer to use their hair, skin and blood to stuff into cavities and smear on to body panels as evidence that the car hit a deer.  The body shop told customers that this way the insurance company would not put the claim down as an “at fault” accident on their records in order to avoid premium increases.
Makes me want to say “oh dear…”

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Auto Insurance Fraud Ring Busted In Los Angeles

So far, 17 people have been arrested in California resulting from an investigation into a multi-million dollar insurance fraud operation.  The investigation took place over a four-year period in the Los Angeles area.

Law enforcement has commented that even more arrests are likely.  Auto dealers and insurance companies were the victims of this fraud, all of which were located in or near Los Angeles.  Although these were the targets, we all know that this type of activity affects all insurance customers by causing increased insurance costs.

This fraud involved the purchase of luxury vehicles such as Audi, BMW, Mercedes and Lexus cars with bank accounts and fraudulent credit cards.  The perpetrators would use fraudulent credit cards to make the purchases, or they would make payments for the cars using a bogus bank account, leaving the auto dealership in the red.

Once the purchase was complete, the new owners would then take out an insurance policy on the cars.  Since these are high value vehicles, they would stand to collect a lot of money on them if they were damaged and determined to be a total loss.  As it turns out, these crooks took the newly purchased cars and then deliberately crashed them.  They would then make an insurance claim and pocket the proceeds from the collision settlement.

This kind of activity is somewhat common but this Los Angeles case suggests that there was a wide ring of people involved.  They had developed a method of systematically committing fraud against car dealers and insurance companies.  In the end, consumers have to pay for this activity as the cost to pay the bogus claims, as well as the cost to investigate and litigate some of these claims are eventually passed on to the consumer.

He Was Dressed In Black and Meowing Like A Cat

A suspected arsonist in Niagara Falls, NY was spied on by neighbor, all dressed in black and nowhere to go.  The witness describes the man as "meowing like a cat" according the the Buffalo News.

Friday, May 9, 2014

New York Fights Auto Insurance Fraud

New legislation was just passed in New York to fight fraud.

On May 7, the New York Senate passed "Alice's Law", making it a crime to stage an auto accident.  This will now be considered a felony crime, and perpetrators could face up to seven years in prison for the offense.

A bill was also approved that targets "runners" who steer accident victims toward fraudulent medical providers who set up clinics that produce bogus medical billings to collect Medicaid dollars.

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