Following several lawsuits in Arizona and Florida, GEICO has filed a federal lawsuit in California alleging an auto glass repair shop submitted fraudulent glass repair bills.
GEICO seeks to recover damages alleging violations of the Civil RICO statute and the California Business and Professional Code as well as claims for common law fraud and unjust enrichment.
GEICO alleges that owners Tal Elzari and Navid Vatankhahan used their business, Winaffix Auto Glass, in a fraudulent scheme to overbill for windshield glass replacement.
Their alleged scheme involved creating false glass invoices designed to mimic those from legitimate car dealerships in order to fraudulently claim they were using expensive original equipment glass rather than less expensive alternative glass. In fact, it is alleged that Winaffix never purchased the glass their invoices claimed. They are also alleged to have performed glass replacement services without a license to do so.
GEICO says it intends to file future lawsuits in California and around the country in its continuing efforts to protect its customers and the public from fraudulent glass repair operators.
“GEICO is committed to protecting our customers from the negative effect that insurance fraud has on premiums,” said James Jones, assistant vice president of claims in GEICO’s Poway, California, office. “These incidents of fraud hurt consumers in California because they cause premiums to increase, and we will continue to pursue them with a zero tolerance.”
Jones went on to say that GEICO has a long history of seeking out individuals and companies willing to commit fraud.
GEICO filed its case – Government Employees Insurance Company, et al. v. Winaffix Auto Glass, et. al. (2:20-cv-01401) – in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
GEICO also seeks a declaration that any pending claims are not owed. GEICO is represented by Barry Levy and Steven Henesy of Rivkin Radler, LLP and Jean M. Daly and Tyler E. Sanchez of Murchison & Cumming, LLP.