An investigation by the California Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR), the Kings County District Attorney’s Insurance Fraud Unit, and the California Department of Insurance (CDI) Criminal Investigations Branch’s Fraud Division lead to the conviction of Lemoore auto repair business owner Kenneth Darrel Jones for reportedly knowingly preparing written documents in support of false and fraudulent auto insurance claims.
Using pretext insurance policies obtained in Jan. 2000, BAR investigators sent two undercover vehicles into Jones Auto Body. Each of these vehicles was inspected both prior to and after being repaired by Jones Auto Body. BAR personnel subsequently found many of the parts listed as being replaced had not been replaced. They also found that repair work listed as being completed by Jones Auto Body on the repair invoices had not been done.
Based on BAR’s undercover investigation, a search warrant was obtained by the Kings County District Attorney’s Office for Jones Auto Body. The search warrant was served in Feb. 2001 by BAR, the Kings County District Attorney’s Office, and CDI. Based upon information obtained during the search warrant, 13 other vehicles were identified as not being repaired as stated in the Jones Auto Body invoices.
One of the vehicles reportedly repaired by Jones Auto Body was a Kings County District Attorney’s Investigation Division unmarked police vehicle. After inspection by BAR, the vehicle was determined to be unsafe and could not be repaired for use. The vehicle was retained by BAR as an exhibit vehicle.
Jones Auto Body was contracted as a preferred auto repair facility by State Farm Insurance, Farmers Insurance, and California State Automobile Association. The victims in the case included three insurance companies, United States Automobile Association, 21st Century Insurance, and California Insurance Group. Also victimized were the owners of the vehicles that were repaired in an incorrect and sometimes unsafe manner.
Jones entered a guilty plea to felony insurance fraud on May 3, 2002 and was sentenced on May 31, 2002 by visiting Fresno County Superior Court Judge James Quaschnick to five years probation, 80 hours community service, and fined $3,135. Jones had previously paid $58,514.25 in restitution and investigation costs.
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