Friday, 30 April 2004 10:00

Buttafuoco pleads guilty to insurance fraud

Joey Buttafuoco, co-owner of California Collision, a Chatsworth auto body shop, pleaded guilty to one count of auto insurance fraud and has been sentenced to one year in county jail and five years probation, the District Attorney's Office announced. 

As a condition of probation, Buttafuoco, 48, must surrender his state license to repair cars and can no longer own an auto body repair shop or work in auto body repair or auto repair work of any kind, said Deputy District Attorney Eric Lavine of the Auto Insurance Fraud Division.

Buttafuoco, who gained notoriety with his affair with a 16-year-old Amy Fisher in the early 1990s, was immediately sentenced by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge David Horwitz. He was taken into custody and began serving his sentence immediately. As part of the plea agreement, the remaining two counts of insurance fraud and one count of grand theft were dismissed.

Buttafuoco must also pay $4,624 in restitution to 21st Century Insurance Co. That was the amount he collected after he showed undercover investigators with the District Attorney's Bureau of Investigation how to scratch a car in order to get a new paint job, Lavine said. Buttafuoco then submitted a claim, repaired the car and cashed the check.

Buttafuoco was arrested December 17, 2003, following a lengthy investigation by a multi-agency task force headed by the District Attorney's Bureau of Investigation. As part of the sting operation, the Attorney General's Consumer Affairs Division filed an administrative action against Buttafuoco and ordered him to give up his state license.

The task force included the California Department of Insurance, the California Bureau of Automotive Repair, the California Attorney General's Office and the National Insurance Crime Bureau.