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
Hakimian and the employees charged, Emma Deguzman, Aldy Antonio
and Bobby Guinto, will all be arraigned this Wednesday, December
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
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.
HERE for the full text of the complaint
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