The California Department of Insurance Fraud Division announced Dec. 5 the arrest of three-of-six individuals suspected of running a glass harvesting ring-filing more than 1,000 false insurance claims for windshield repair totaling nearly $100,000. The suspects were arrested on multiple felony charges for grand theft, false personation of another, and filing fraudulent insurance claims. Using actual consumers' insurance policies, the suspects allegedly submitted fraudulent claims for automobile insurance windshield chip repairs to multiple insurance companies between May 9, 2011 and May 24, 2012.
"This criminal case is a good reminder for consumers to pay close attention to any notifications received from their insurance company, because these suspects were essentially stealing consumers' insurance identity," said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. "Consumers should review their policy claim history annually, upon renewal, to ensure the claim information is accurate. If there are errors or questions about the claim history, consumers should contact their agent or broker immediately and report it to our consumer hotline."
California Department of Insurance officials believe the individuals involved were initially operating a legitimate auto glass repair business and completed authorized repairs. The investigation revealed that the suspects retained consumers' policy information and sometime later allegedly filed additional fraudulent claims on consumers' policies, without policyholders' knowledge or permission. Consumers who had repairs done by Safetek Auto Glass Consulting, Auto Glass Professional and Clear View Autoglass should check their insurance carrier to ensure no additional, potentially fraudulent claims were filed on their policy.
The Department of Insurance recently awarded auto fraud grant funds of $22 million statewide. The Sacramento Regional Fraud Office administers grants in northern California totaling $1.3 million for auto fraud for seven Northern CA counties, including Amador, El Dorado, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Shasta and Yolo.