The Central California lawsuit between Government Employees Insurance Co., GEICO Indemnity Co., GEICO General Insurance Company and GEICO Casualty Co. (collectively GEICO) and Winaffix Auto Glass LLC (WAG) and its owners, Tal Elzari and Navid Vatankhahan has ended. According to court documents, GEICO filed a notice of voluntary dismissal, which effectively ends the lawsuit. Both parties agreed to a settlement outside of court; the terms and conditions were not available. The settlement was made after several motions were filed and granted to extend the amount of time allowed for WAG and its owners to respond to GEICO’s complaint.
In February of this year GEICO alleged WAG and its owners were responsible for an “ongoing fraudulent scheme” committed against the auto manufacturer and the California auto insurance industry. According to GEICO’s complaint, the defendants “wrongly obtaining more than $150,000 by submitting dozens of fraudulent windshield reimbursement claims,” for the last five years.
According to GEICO, WAG and its owners adopted a fraudulent practice to create the false appearance that the group legitimately purchased original equipment manufacturer (OEM) glass from reputable Southern California auto dealerships and that it was entitled to higher reimbursement for the auto glass replacement services. The alleged fraudulent practice GEICO mentioned was creating false auto dealership invoices.
GEICO sought to recover financial damages under the civil racketeer influenced and corrupt organizations act (RICO) statutes. GEICO provided several reasons as to why WAG’s auto glass claims were fraudulent:
- They involved charges for illusory windshield replacement services that were never legitimately provided in the first instance;
- They involved the submission of fraudulent and fabricated purchase invoices in order to substantiate their charges for the windshield replacement services and to create the appearance that the defendants had incurred legitimate acquisition costs, when in fact they had not; and
- The windshield replacement services were unlawfully provided by Winaffix without a license from the California Bureau of Automotive Repair.