Subscribe to glassBYTEs!

Glass Emporium Owner and Employees Charged with Insurance Billing Fraud

The owner of Glass Emporium of Marin Inc. (GEMI) and three of his employees have been charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and committed wire fraud for inflating prices of windshields when billing insurance companies and billing for un-used parts, such as mouldings, on a variety of insurance jobs. The criminal complaint was filed by Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) special agent William Leoni in the U.S. District Court of Northern California.

In the complaint, Leoni alleges that the Mehrdad "Tony" Hakimian, owner of the Oakland, Calif.-based company and its subsidiaries, Glass Pro and Glass Masters, instructed his employees to "electronically revise invoices to fraudulently reflect that a higher grade/more costly automotive windshield or window had been installed when, in fact, a standard grade/less costly windshield or window had been installed."

Hakimian and the employees charged, Emma Deguzman, Aldy Antonio and Bobby Guinto, will all be arraigned this Wednesday, December 19.

Deguzman, Antonio and Guinto all worked in the company's accounts receivables department, and are alleged to have made many of the electronic revisions. A confidential source who had been employed with one of the company's local shops in the Southeast contacted the FBI in May 2005 after discovering that this was occurring. The source had questioned the billing, which was submitted locally then transferred electronically to corporate headquarters, where invoices allegedly were often deleted and replaced with invoices charging the higher amounts.

The source also alleged that, in many instances, expenses for materials such as mouldings, were added to the invoices, even though they were never replaced.

In December 2006, the FBI searched GEMI's corporate headquarters and by completing several queries in its system, found 5,900 potentially fraudulent invoices, totaling more than $5.86 million in potentially inflated costs billed and paid by insurance companies.

Among the insurance companies alleged to have been billed fraudulently are State Farm, Allstate, Nationwide, Farmers, GEICO, U SAA and Progressive.

According to the complaint, Antonio created 57 percent of the voided invoices, Deguzman 21 percent and Guinto 11 percent.

All four are charged with conspiracy and fraud.

At press time, glassBYTEs.comô was awaiting a statement from Hakimian's attorney, James Bustamante of the Law Offices of James Bustamante in San Francisco.

CLICK HERE for the full text of the complaint

Need more info and analysis about the issues?
CLICK HERE to subscribe to AGRR magazine.