Automobile repairs can be a hassle to deal with, especially forthose of us that aren't handy with a wrench. That being said, manycar owners turn to a local auto repair shop to fix whatevermysterious clunk, hiss, or bump may be going on underneath thehood. Unfortunately for patrons of one California car shop, usingChoice Auto Body was definitely the wrong choice.


Dong Suk Choi, 52, owned two Choice Auto Body locations thatrecently became the focus of investigations conducted by both theCDI Urban Auto Fraud Task Force and Farmers Insurance. According tothe investigations, Farmers had been over-billed for repair costson 20 of 28 inspected vehicles.


As it turned out, over-billing wasn't the only issue, and Choiwas not working alone. Timothy Zen Powell worked for Choi as anauto body manager in Santa Clara, where the two men were allegedlyusing inferior parts -- or in some cases, old car parts that hadbeen fixed -- to complete vehicle repairs. The bills that were sentto Farmers, however, were for brand-new parts. Not only did Farmersget defrauded, but so did the customers who had the work done, asthe parts used in the vehicles may have been compromised.


Choi and Powell were both arrested on July 1, and were chargedwith multiple counts of auto insurance fraud. The total cost toFarmers was estimated at $15,000. Perhaps some comfort can be takenin that the bail for each of the men is nearly triple that at$50,000.

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