Los Angeles Police Department, California Highway Patrol, National Insurance Crime Bureau, Automobile Club of Southern California
Friday, March 14, 2003
Van Nuys Area Police Station
6240 Sylmar Avenue
Los Angeles: The LAPD’s Operations Valley Bureau Community Effort to Combat Auto Theft (CECAT) Unit will be conducting a press conference to announce the arrest of several males in connection with an auto insurance fraud scam.
After receiving information that several auto body shops in the San Fernando Valley Area were engaging in nefarious and criminal activity regarding auto insurance claims, the C.E.C.A.T. Task Force began an investigation. The CECAT Unit is a multi-agency task force consisting of personnel from the Los Angeles Police Department, California Highway Patrol, Department of Motor Vehicles and the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
During a two-day fact finding period, undercover officers took an undamaged vehicle into 12 repair facilities believed to be involved in this type of fraud. Eleven of the 12 facilities advised the undercover officers that they would inflate the claim. Four of the 12 repair facilities agreed to commit major fraud by encouraging the undercover officers to damage the previously undamaged vehicle. One repair facility submitted an estimate to the Southern California Auto Club Insurance Company with a claim of $2,800.00 for paint and damage that did not exist. This vehicle will be on display during the press conference.
On January 13, 2003, investigators conducted another undercover sting operation, this time video taping the actions of the body shop employees and subsequent arrests. The video footage of the operation and subsequent arrests will be made available to the media, following the press conference. KVEA Channel 52 provided pool coverage for the operation. Please contact Ivan Hernandez at 818-502-5711 for information on how to secure the video footage. Representatives from all involved agencies will be present.
This press release was prepared by Public Information Officer Jason Lee, Media Relations Section, 213-485-3586.