Thursday, 31 August 2006 10:00

19 arrested for auto body fraud in No. Calif.

Owners and employees of various auto body shops in Shasta and Butte counties were allegedly involved in fraudulent insurance claims - with loss estimates ranging from $2,000 - $4,386 in 19 separate occurrences. 

Nineteen suspects have been arrested for various felony counts of insurance fraud, all resulting from an extensive sting operation in Butte and Shasta counties. Of the 20 suspects, seven individuals were arrested in Butte County and 12 individuals in Shasta County self-surrendered to the Shasta County Jail and were released on their own recognizance.

During April and May 2006 in Shasta, and during May 2006 in Butte, the California Department of Insurance (CDI)'s Fraud Division, with assistance from the Butte and Shasta County District Attorney's offices, began an undercover investigation into automobile body shop-related insurance fraud. They unearthed numerous instances of suspected insurance fraud that could have bilked consumers out of tens of thousands of dollars.

"I commend the investigative work of our units and the Butte and Shasta County DA's offices," said Commissioner Garamendi. "Insurance fraud is an economic burden upon our entire state and we will continue to work to bring perpetrators to justice."