Calif. Body Shop Owner and Manager Charged with Insurance Fraud
July 8, 2009

A body shop owner and manager were arrested last week in California stemming from allegations of insurance fraud, according to reports from the California Insurance Commissioner's office. Choice Auto Body owner Dong Suk Choi, 52, of Union City, Calif., and Timothy Zen Powell, 32, of Palo Alto, Calif., manager of the company's Santa Clara, Calif., location, were arrested July 1 and charged with multiple counts of automobile insurance fraud. Bail for the men was set at $50,000 each.

According to reports from the insurance commissioner, Farmers Insurance b re-inspected 28 vehicles repaired by two Choice Auto Body locations, one in Newark, Calif., and one in Santa Clara, and discovered that the company had allegedly over-billed Farmers for repair costs on 20 of these. Farmers claimed that the body shop repaired old parts while billing Farmers for a brand-new part, or uses inferior parts in some cases-costing the insurer an excess of approximately $15,000.

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