Government Employees Insurance Co., Geico Indemnity Co., Geico General Insurance Company and Geico Casualty Co. (collectively Geico) has filed a federal lawsuit in Florida’s middle district against the following parties: Smart Ride (originally organized under the name Chipio Windshield Repair, LLC), Andrew Baker, Gerald Salko, Lawrence Tenebaum, and Michael Meryash (all of whom controlled Smart Ride), the Baumer Group LLC, Stealing Home LLC and Rekaba LLC. The insurance company alleges that the group is responsible for a “fraudulent scheme” by submitting hundreds of unlawful auto glass claims.
“This complaint seeks to terminate an ongoing fraudulent scheme committed against Geico and, more broadly, the Florida automobile insurance industry, and to recover more than $144,000 that the defendants wrongfully obtained from Geico through the submission of hundreds of fraudulent and unlawful claims seeking reimbursement for phony, unnecessary, unlawful, and otherwise non-reimbursable windshield repair services allegedly provided to individuals who were eligible for glass repair coverage under comprehensive automobile insurance policies issued by Geico,” a portion of the complaint reads.
According to the insurance company, Baker, Salko, Tenebaum, and Meryash owned and controlled Smart Ride through Stealing Home and Baumer. Geico alleges the group worked with Rekaba, LLC (Rekaba) to produce fraudulent claims for auto glass services that were submitted through Smart Ride.
“In addition to money damages, Geico seeks a declaration that it is not legally obligated to pay reimbursement of more than $65,000 in outstanding claims for purported glass services that have been submitted or caused to be submitted by the defendants through defendant CHWR, LLC d/b/a Smart Ride Windshield Repair (Smart Ride),” a portion of Geico’s complaint states.
The company sites the following reasons to support why it should not be responsible for paying reimbursement for the claims:
- The claims involved phony glass services that were not necessary, reparative, or in some cases actually performed;
- The claims were the product of illegal, deceptive, unfair, and manipulative conduct directed at Geico insureds; and
- The claims were submitted through Smart Ride, which never actually performed the services, never obtained valid assignments of insurance benefits from the insureds, and was ineligible to seek reimbursement from Geico for the claims in the first instance.
According to the filed complaint, Geico believes the alleged scheme began no later than 2016 and has continued uninterrupted through the present day. The complaint further alleges that Smart Ride defendants at no point “maintained any vehicles or tools for use in providing glass services, and did not maintain any glass inventory.” As a result, Geico alleges that the defendants were never able to provide auto glass services to its insureds.
“As a result of the defendants’ scheme, Geico has incurred damages of more than $144,000, including more than $75,000 in damages incurred by GEICO General Insurance Company, more than $19,000 in damages incurred by GEICO Indemnity Co., more than $40,000 in damages incurred by Government Employees Insurance Company, and more than $9,000 in damages incurred by GEICO Casualty Co.,” a portion of the complaint reads.
Geico is currently seeking to recover the full extent of those alleged financial damages, equating to more than $144,000. At press time, the defendants hadn’t responded to requests for comment from glassBYTEs. Check glassBYTEs.com for continuing coverage of the suit.