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Attorney: Rich Evans denies wrongdoing in Calif. insurance fraud sting

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June 7, 2010—Rich Evans, TV personality and owner of Huntington Beach Bodyworks, was among 53 collision repair employees to be arrested and charged with one felony count of insurance fraud in the Orange County, Calif. area last week.

The arrests were made after a five-month undercover sting operation led by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office Automobile and Insurance Fraud Unit, targeted body repair shops suspected of fraud. Evans denies any wrongdoing, according to his attorney Dyke Huish.

"It is our position that Rich has done absolutely nothing wrong and never has or never would defraud anybody," Huish said.

Evans recently partnered with Ohio Technical College (OTC) to begin The Rich Evans Academy—an advanced collision repair program—in the fall of 2010. OTC officials had no comment on the arrest.

The stings used vehicles that had been totaled out by the insurance company after sustaining rear end damage during a collision. In addition, the sting vehicles had other damages or missing parts that were not the result of the collision. Undercover agents asked shops to submit one insurance claim to repair damages caused by an accident, and for pre-existing damage to the vehicle, which is against the law. The majority of the shop employees complied with law, according to the press release_notes.

“Insurance fraud hurts every Orange County family because insurance companies pass on the cost of fraud to their customers. In a down economy, having affordable insurance is vital to families on a budget,” said Tony Rackauckas, Orange County District Attorney. “In Southern California, having cars and car insurance are not a luxury, but a necessity. I think consumers have the right to know which of the auto repair shops are conducting straight businesses and which are not.”

Arraignments for those who could not post $30,000 bail began Thursday and will continue Friday. If convicted, Evans and the 52 other defendants could face up to five years in prison.

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