Making Crime Pay
In this film image released by Pantelion Films, Eva Mendes, left, and Cierra Ramirez are shown in a scene from "Girl in Progress." (AP Photo/Pantelion Films, Bob Akester) (Bob Akester)
The bureau has inspired other states to follow suit. While California uses stealth, Florida uses muscle.
In early morning raids, Florida fraud fighters round up shop owners, some caught putting spent air bags into cars a dangerous deception.
"More so than the crimes, it's the safety issues. For money, for $500-600, they're willing to jeopardize the lives of people they don't know," said John Dygone, chief investigator with the Florida Insurance Fraud Department.
A Vancouver woman and her child were killed because a shop replaced her air bags with used ones, criminally filled with foam.
"I've seen cases where they've stuffed rags, I've seen other cases where they've stuffed beer cans just to give it a firm feel," said Bob Love, special agent with the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
But investigator Warren Sam found the shop had charged for work they hadn't done.
"They were paid to replace this part. All they did was just repair," he said.
Now, the state is moving to revoke the owner's registration.
When Specialty Auto in Redwood City was asked about the charges, the manager refused to answer.
If he can't answer in court, he's out of business, thanks to Warren Samm.
"Yes, it's an expensive proposition but we want to protect the consumers of California from being ripped off by fraudulent body shops," he said.
They say crime doesn't pay, but the truth is, auto fraud is as lucrative as it is dangerous. Putting cheats ot of business is certain to keep Warren Samm in business for years to come.
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