Western News

1HomePageMap small w 0816Local news stories affecting the auto body industry in California, NevadaOregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Hawaii, Alaska and Wyoming

In Burbank, CA, Suren Grigorian, 45, reported that his 2007 Mercedes Benz had been vandalized while parked in the garage of his residence. Grigorian then filed a claim for which his insurer paid $20,000. Suspicion was later aroused in Dec. 2010 when an informant told investigators at the California Division of Insurance (CDI) that it was Grigorian who inflicted the damage, rather than an anonymous perpetrator.

What began as a vandalism claim led to felony charges alleging insurance fraud and at least two staged auto accidents. Now each of the eight people arrested in connection will face hard time—up to 5 years in jail—and individual fines of $50,000, if convicted of the charges before them.

Pacific Collision Center of Cathedral City, CA, recently provided a 2011 Toyota Camry to a Coachella family in desperate need of transportation.

The giveaway, held in conjunction with the NABC Golf Fundraiser in Palm Springs on Jan. 23, was coordinated through Pacific Collision Centers and the Recycled Rides program.

“We had both the honor and pleasure to gift a vehicle to a needy family in the Palm Springs area,” said Steven Vettel, owner of Pacific Collision Centers. “Our director of marketing, Martha Serna, worked with Recycled Rides, along with local charities, Variety of the Desert and Angel View, to help facilitate the gifting of a 2011 Toyota Camry to Beatriz Alfaro,” Vettel said.

The California Department of Insurance (CDI) announced Jan. 28 that eight suspects were arrested on felony charges alleging fraudulent insurance claims, allegedly staging two automobile accidents and fraudulent vehicle vandalism. If convicted on all charges, the suspects face up to five years in prison and fines up to $50,000 each.

The suspects, Suren Grigorian, 45; Aida Akopian, 36; Seda Markarian, 62; Mamikon Hakobyan, 74; Masis Galstan, 49; Rosa Galstyan, 42; Roza Issayan, 41; and Setik Patatanian, 49, are all from the Burbank/Glendale area.

According to CDI investigators, the department received a tip from an informant in December 2010 alleging that Grigorian filed a fraudulent insurance claim stemming from his report of vandalism to a 2007 Mercedes sedan parked in the garage of his Burbank residence. The insurer paid approximately $20,000 to settle the damages claim. Further investigation revealed Grigorian and others were also allegedly involved in two suspected staged collisions in 2008. In that case, multiple insurers paid out over $62,000 to settle damage claims.

Wednesday, 06 February 2013 09:10

Capitol Collision in Arizona Helps Identify Fraud

An auto body repair shop in Phoenix was recently lauded by five of the largest insurance companies in Arizona for exposing a man in Phoenix, AZ, who have been staging fake collisions to collect huge insurance claims from these insurance companies. Capitol Collision Repair Specialists received plaques of recognition from these insurance companies.

The criminal is suspected of staging more than 10 collisions in the past year and processing claims from the insurance companies amounting to more than a $1 million. Charges have been filed against him and the case is pending in court.

To view a pdf file of this article with photos, click HERE.

Charity giving is alive and well for body shops in Northern California. Four collision repairer companies were among those who gave away refurbished cars through charitable efforts during 2012.

G&C Auto Body, Golden State Collision, Regal Collision and Mike’s Auto Body all stepped up last year and reached out to their respective communities in a huge way. By providing 15 needy families or non-profit organizations with vehicles, these shops changed their recipients’ lives literally overnight by giving them a new start and the independence of transportation.

On Nov. 11, Mike Rose’s Auto Body held the first of its two Benevolence presentations on Veteran’s Day at its Fairfield location. The second presentation was held at its Antioch location on December 12. A total of six cars were given away by the company, setting a bar for charity  amongst body shops in the Bay Area.


Wednesday, 23 January 2013 11:01

Finishmaster Closes Two Acquisitions, CA and NJ

FinishMaster, Inc. announced two new acquisitions in two states.