|For Immediate Release
OCDA CHARGES 53 IN OPERATION STRAIGHT BODY INSURANCE FRAUD STING TARGETING
AUTO BODY REPAIR FACILITIES
*Included is Richard Evans, featured on Speed Channel’s television show Chop Cut Rebuild
SANTA ANA – The Orange County District Attorney’s Office (OCDA) has charged 53 defendants in Operation Straight Body following a 5-month undercover sting by the OCDA Automobile Insurance Fraud Unit targeting auto body repair facilities engaging in insurance fraud.
Between January and May 2010, the OCDA conducted 152 undercover operations throughout Orange County. The targets for this operation were identified through the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR), who provided the OCDA with a list of 141 auto body repair facilities that have had consumer complaints within the past three years. The additional targets were identified through referrals by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) and independent auto repair facilities that were not registered with the BAR.
Investigators arrested the defendants on felony insurance fraud charges on June 2, 2010, and June 3, 2010. The defendants have each been charged with one felony count of insurance fraud and face maximum sentences of five years in state prison if convicted. A complete list of defendants and the auto body repair facilities where they worked can be found below.
The in-custody defendants who have not posted the $30,000 bail will be arraigned beginning today and continuing tomorrow in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana.
For their assistance and cooperation, the OCDA would like to thank the BAR, California Highway Patrol, Department of Insurance, NICB, Automobile Club of Southern California, Geico Insurance, Hartford Insurance, Infinity Insurance, Mendota Insurance, Mercury Insurance, and Progressive Insurance Companies.
“Insurance fraud hurts every Orange County family because insurance companies pass on the cost of fraud to their customers. In a down economy, having affordable insurance is vital to families on a budget,” said Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas. “In Southern California, having cars and car insurance are not a luxury, but a necessity. I think consumers have the right to know which of the auto repair shops are conducting straight businesses and which are not.”
This and other automobile insurance fraud investigations by the OCDA are ongoing. Deputy District Attorneys Jan Christie, Jimmie Harris and Demetra Lewis of the Insurance Fraud Unit are prosecuting these cases.