NORTHEAST NEWS (243)
New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware
Autobody News Northeast print edition is mailed to 8,000+ body shops monthly
Edgar Rodriguez, 39, of Erie, PA had a tendency to get in automobile accidents in his 2003 Dodge Grand Caravan. Eventually the frequency and similarity of those accidents caught up with him.
Rodriguez was sentenced on June 19 for his guilty plea to running a 10-person ring that staged phony crashes and earned him and his co-conspirators over $37,000.
Despite temperatures in the high ‘90s, nearly 100 golfers turned out to hit the links for the 8th annual Lou Scoras Memorial Golf Outing, the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of New Jersey (AASP/NJ)’s yearly event in memory of the former association member.
“What a fabulous turnout,” AASP/NJ Executive Director Charles Bryant said. “We were a little concerned about the weather, but everything turned out great. Everyone stayed cool and had a great time. It was an excellent tribute to Lou’s memory. I’m sure he was looking down and smiling.”
Joining the participants at the Colonia Country Club in Colonia, NJ were dozens of industry sponsors whose support was integral to the event’s success.
The Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of New Jersey (AASP/NJ) has joined the groundswell of shops and associations in opposing State Farm’s pilot parts-bidding program.
“We are in total agreement with our fellow industry associations and members such as AASP National, SCRS, AASP/MA, AASP Illinois and the many individuals who showed up at last week’s CIC meeting in San Antonio, who are standing together to voice complete opposition to this latest intrusion into our members’ businesses,” says AASP/NJ Executive Director Charles Bryant. “We are calling for all of our colleagues across the country to speak up and voice their displeasure with a program that could potentially devastate the industry.”
Lorraine Pilitz, owner of Autotech Collision at 120 E. Merrick Rd. in Freeport, NY, was accused of submitting fraudulent records for an insurance claim in September of 2010, but a jury recently found her not guilty on all five felony counts.
According to the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office, Lorraine Pilitz (formerly Christie-Pilitz) 54, of Merrick and owner of Autotech Collision, (also known as Autotech Collision Rockville Center) was charged in September 2010 with three counts of fourth-degree insurance fraud and falsifying business records. If she had been convicted, Ms. Pilitz could have faced three years in jail. On June 22, a jury found Ms. Pilitz not guilty on all five charges.
According to her attorney Oscar Michelen, the charges stemmed from a 2009 auto accident in which the vehicle Ms. Pilitz was driving in was rear-ended by another motorist.
A Bridgeport, CT chiropractor became the sixth health care provider to admit his involvement in a multi-million dollar insurance fraud in which medical treatment for auto accident victims was exaggerated to obtain bigger lawsuit settlements.
George U. DeCarvalho, 56, owner of DeCarvalho Spine and Rehab, 3715 Main St., pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit health-care fraud during proceedings before U.S. District Stefan R. Underhill. DeCarvalho, who is represented by Andrew Bowman, was released on a promise to appear in court for his Sept. 21 sentencing. He faces anywhere from six to 16 months in prison at that time.
The chiropractor is the fourth of that profession to plead guilty in a case the FBI dubbed Operation Running Man. FBI Special Agent Daniel Curtin is heading the probe.
William Lieberth Sr., 56, owner of Allegheny Auto Body in West Deer, PA, has been at the same location on East Ohio Street since 1976. However, he is being told he must move his shop by Aug. 6.
Mr. Lieberth is trying to save his shop.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) has told Mr. Lieberth that the ongoing Route 28 expansion requires use of his building and its adjacent parking lot. The state has acquired the land through eminent domain and Mr. Lieberth is required to vacate the property by Aug. 6.
"But I have no intention of leaving," Mr. Lieberth. He says he wants to leave the shop to his son, Bill Lieberth, 34.
A Toronto, Ontario couple and their three grown children were arrested for running what police say was a family-run chop shop and car-theft ring. The arrests are the culmination of a six-month investigation by police in York Region. Police have recovered around $500,000 worth of stolen parts at Collision World near Martin Grove Road and Highway 401.
The five family members have been charged with possession of stolen property over $5,000, tampering with a Vehicle Identification Number, trafficking in stolen property and breach of recognizance.
One of the men arrested has a previous conviction for running a chop shop in the '90s. He is also alleged to be behind a large marijuana grow-op found on the collision repair facility's property two years ago.
The Collision Repair Education Foundation and CCC Information Services Inc. have announced four students as winners of the CCC Michael Salvatore Memorial Student Repair Technician Scholarship. The scholarship program was renamed in 2007 to honor longtime CCC team member Michael Salvatore.
The CCC Michael Salvatore Memorial Student Repair Technician Scholarship awards scholarships to students currently enrolled in a repair program who have demonstrated superior academic achievement. The 2012 winners include:
Top Scholarship Recipient ($5,000) is Melissa Scheuerman (Fox Valley Technical College, Appleton, WI)
Additional Scholarship Recipients ($2,000)are Aaron Dressler (Pennsylvania College of Technology, Williamsport, PA); Josh Hudson (Guilford Technical Community College, Jamestown, NC); and Ryan Seefeldt (Fox Valley Technical College, WI).
“CCC is proud of the accomplishments this year’s scholarship recipients have achieved,” said Joseph Allen, group vice president, Automotive Services Group, CCC Information Services. “We’re excited to continue to offer today’s students support as they seek to complete their training and move into the auto repair industry.”
Keenan Auto Body President and COO Michael LeVasseur has announced that it raised a record-setting amount of $30,000 for Little Smiles Philadelphia, an all-volunteer organization, at Keenan's 14th annual charity golf outing held at Penn Oaks Golf Club on June 14.
"We're waiting for the final tallies and post-event checks to announce the accurate total, but we know it's at least $30,000, and we couldn’t be more proud," said LeVasseur.
Fixing cars is rarely a life-and-death situation. But, on a hot summer day last year, a body shop owner had to act quickly to save the life of an insurance adjuster who was experiencing a serious heart attack at his facility. If Bob McSherry, owner of North Haven Auto Body in North Haven, Connecticut had not acted quickly and definitively when Mike Vitale, an adjuster for GEICO, experienced a serious heart attack in his rear parking lot, there is a very good chance he would no longer be alive.
It started out as a typical hot, humid summer morning, but quickly became a life-changing experience for at least two people. “It was one of those days in Connecticut where you’re sweating heavily by 11 a.m.,” McSherry explained. “Mike had a long day ahead of him, and he used to be kind of high-strung back then anyway. Now, since the heart attack, he has slowed down quite a bit. But, he was a little wound up that morning because he was behind schedule.”
To view a pdf file of this article with photo, please click HERE
On June 20 the Massachusetts State Automobile Dealers Association (MSADA) and the Massachusetts Right to Repair Coalition announced an agreement on compromise “right to repair” legislation that, if passed, would avoid the November ballot question fight.