Speculation about why the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is looking into the business practices of Diamond-Triumph (D-T) continues to grow. The FBI has sealed the affidavit in the case confirming only that Diamond Triumph is under investigation for insurance fraud. glassBYTES.com/AGRR magazine has spoken to a number of sources familiar with the investigation, including current and former employees. One such former employee who has asked not to be identified has given statements in the case to the FBI. This former employee said that, while he (or she) does not know the exact nature of the charges, nor the evidence that has been collected, he (or she) says that a lot of the information on D-Ts computers was destroyed before being seized by the government. The FBI had no comment on this issue.
This former employee speculates that the charges would center around two related issues. The former employee alleges that the company repeatedly waived insurance deductibles for customers in order to get the insurance work and then provided "bingo" cards to the agents as rewards for referrals. The cards are similar to ones used in some "frequent buyer" programs in which a purchase is recorded every time one is made, and when the user reaches a certain pre-determined level, he receives a pre-determined award. In this case, the award was the ability to pick a prize from a prize catalog, a commonly-used incentive. According to reports from industry sources, the agents tracked their own referrals and marked their cards. "They were on the honor system," said another source, "and that makes it bribery."
The former employee who spoke to glassBYTEs on condition of anonymity said that both district managers and at least one outside salesperson who was dealt with the program were "crooked."
This is not the first time a large auto glass retailer has caught the attention of law and/or regulatory enforcement agencies. Most such cases ultimately come down to whether the offense was an isolated incidence or a company-wide practice. "You have to remember, these are very large companies and any one person-a rouge manager in one location-can make bad decisions that effect everyone. What the feds are looking for is a pattern that extends beyond one person, a program that has become a business practice. That's when they get involved," said a person familiar with these types of investigations.
Diamond Triumph could not be reached for comment.
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