Government Employees Insurance Co., GEICO Indemnity Co., GEICO General Insurance Company and GEICO Casualty Co. (collectively Geico) filed a complaint in Arizona Federal Court against defendants, Auto Glass Express (AGE) and its owners and managers, Danielle Dean and Saxton Lafasto for an alleged fraudulent scheme. The insurance company claimed the defendants “improperly obtained $950,000 from Geico through the submission of thousands of fraudulent or otherwise non-reimbursable insurance claims.”
According to the complaint, Geico sought to be reimbursed for windshield replacement services that were allegedly provided to its insured customers. Geico wants to recover financial damages under the civil racketeer influenced and corrupt organizations act (RICO) statutes.
In addition to money damages, Geico is seeking a declaration that states it is not legally obligated to pay reimbursement of more than $45,000 in outstanding claims for windshield replacement services that have been submitted by the defendants through AGE, according to Geico’s complaint.
Geico provided the following rationale as to why AGE’s auto glass claims should be seen as fraudulent:
- The case involves charges for illusory windshield replacement services and that were never legitimately performed or provided; and
- Services were non-reimbursable because AGE never obtained assignments of benefits (AOB) from insureds.
The alleged fraudulent scheme began in 2018 and continues to the present day, according to Geico’s complaint. “The defendants do not now have – and never had – any right to be compensated for the windshield replacement services that they billed through AGE to Geico,” a portion of the complaint reads.
AGE and its owners, Dean and Lafasto responded to Geico’s complaint.
“Defendants admit only that Geico seeks to recover more than $950,000 and oppose the request and deny the remaining allegations,” a portion of the defendant’s response reads.
In addition to denying the fraudulent allegations, the defendants filed a counter lawsuit against the auto insurance company, alleging it “has a preferential relationship with Safelite Group, Inc. (Safelite) and attempts to direct its insureds to Safelite for windshield replacement services.”
Dean and Lafasto are looking to recover financial damages, according to their response to Geico’s complaint.
The presiding judge ordered a telephonic case management conference for the ongoing lawsuit. The conference is set for June 3, 2020 where Geico “shall initiate the conference call by arranging for the presence of all other attorneys,” according to court documents. Following the conference’s conclusion, both parties will have developed a joint case management report.
Look to a future edition of glassBYTEs for continued coverage of the suit.