Martinez, Calif. – The Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office and the California Department of Insurance partnered to conduct an undercover operation targeting auto repair insurance fraud in Contra Costa County. Today investigators arrested the last two of four employees at four different auto repair shops caught in the sting operation.
Auto repair shops provide estimates to customers for insurance claims knowing that the customer’s ultimate decision on whether to proceed with the repair, and pay for it, may depend on the insurance company approving and paying out for the claim. This can create an incentive for the estimator to overlook or even encourage a customer known to be committing a fraud.
Accepting business with knowledge or reckless disregard for the fact that a customer intends to commit insurance fraud is a felony punishable by up to three years in prison and an additional fine of up to $50,000.
An undercover officer visited several auto body repair shops in Contra Costa County and told estimators that they wanted to claim and repair pre-existing damage on a new insurance policy initiated after the damage occurred. The officer requested a repair estimate from the shop to assist with the false insurance claim.
Four individuals have been charged in the sting operation including:
- Kyle Coburn (30-years-old) of AW Collision in Concord;
- Marco Hernandez (49-years-old) of 101 Auto Body in Richmond;
- Estephanie Gonzalez-Marquez (26-years-old) of Tepa Autobody in Pittsburg;
- Vu Hoang (33-years-old) of Kee’s Auto Body in Concord.
The District Attorney’s Office also reminds consumers to be wary of listening to anyone who suggests lying to an insurance company related to an insurance claim. Providing false or misleading information in support of an insurance claim is a felony punishable by up to five years state prison and an additional fine of up to $50,000.
Anyone with information about possible auto insurance fraud can report that information to the District Attorney’s Office via email at [email protected]