N.Y. repair shop owner charged with insurance fraud
September 23, 2010—Lorraine Pilitz, owner of Autotech Collision in Rockville Centre, N.Y., was arrested on Sept. 15 for attempting to scam an insurance company out of more than $12,000, according to the LI Herald of Nassau County.
Pilitz was charged with three counts of fourth degree insurance fraud and one count of first degree falsifying business records. Autotech is charged with second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument and first degree falsifying business records and faces up to a $10,000 fine. Pilitz faces up to three years in prison if convicted.
In September 2009, Pilitz was driving a 2007 PT Cruiser that was owned by her body shop when she was rear-ended. Pilitz then submitted a claim to Geico, the other drivers’ insurance company, stating that her car was totaled. Geico attempted multiple times to see the car to assess the damage, according to District Attorney Kathleen Rice.
After six weeks of no assessment Geico finally saw the car, which was dismantled at Pilitz’s shop. Geico then agreed to pay the full damages and asked Pilitz for proof of the vehicles value, proof of ownership and cost of repair for the vehicle.
Pilitz provided Geico with a hand-written list of expenses and a fraudulent bill of sale, which indicated she paid Autotech $12,491 for the vehicle. Also, Pilitz provided a fraudulent MV-50, a DMV form used to transfer ownership of a vehicle.
During the DA’s investigation another fraudulent MV-50 form was found with a forged signature of Pilitz’s father, who died prior to the date on the form.
Pilitz pleaded not guilt at her arraignment on Sept. 15, according to the LI Herald.