CDI Busts Up Fraudulent Auto Scheme

February 10, 2003

CDI Fraud Division Investigators arrested four individuals after executing search warrants at their homes and an auto body repair shop located in Oakland. California residents Art Mercado, 56, of Alameda, Scott Carey, 31, of Pleasanton, Martin Randisi, 34, of Tracy, and Eduardo Enerio, 49, of San Leandro, were arrested and have been charged by the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office with more than 20 felony counts of insurance fraud and grand theft. Bail is set for the four individuals from $990,000 to $1.7 million.

In Jan. 2002, Farmers Insurance-MOU met with the CDI about an alleged major insurance fraud ring involving Phil-Am Auto Body in Oakland. Carey and Randisi allegedly filed a large number of suspicious claims, and in less than two years, Farmers had issued more than $650,000 in payments for claims associated with Phil-Am. The shop was allegedly involved in numerous cases of inflating damages to vehicles, staged and paper collisions, and intentionally inflicting damage to vehicles. Fourteen vehicles were examined by Farmers and investigators concluded that damages in photos taken by Carey or Randisi depicted simulated, manufactured and/or staged damages.

A CDI investigator examined more than 100 Farmers insurance claims filed through Phil-Am. Twenty-seven fictitious collisions were identified where a person insured with Farmers alleged that they had swerved to avoid something in the road and subsequently struck two to four parked vehicles. Suspects Enerio and Mercado were allegedly responsible for the fraudulent reports and the investigation also revealed that Carey and Randisi were allegedly receiving kickback payments for creating fraudulent estimates and issuing property damage settlement checks.

The CDI was assisted in the investigation by the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office, the California Highway Patrol, the Bureau of Automotive Repair, the National Insurance Crime Bureau and several insurance companies.

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Insurance Journal West February 10, 2003
February 10, 2003
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