Hani Abujudeh, 55, of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., the leader of an auto insurance fraud scheme, was sentenced to six years in state prison, according to authorities.
Abujudeh was sentenced for his involvement in the scheme in which he filed more than 35 fraudulent claims, manipulated used-car odometers and vehicle titles to make the vehicles appear more valuable and then used false identities of other victims to sell those cars on Craigslist and Auto Trader to unsuspecting customers, according to the California Department of Insurance.
Abujudeh pleaded guilty to seven felony counts, including auto insurance fraud, money laundering, perjury, false impersonation and grand theft.
Abujudeh was required to pay victim restitution in the full amount of $183,475.22. The victims included 15 individuals and four insurance companies who appeared in court to receive their restitution checks.
“California is ground zero for auto insurance fraud, which is paid for by consumers when insurers pass along their fraud losses through higher premiums,” said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. “Thanks to the hard work of our investigators at the Department of Insurance, our taskforce partners, and the San Bernardino District Attorney’s office, Abujudeh’s crimes were exposed and he was successfully prosecuted.”
An investigation by the Inland Empire Auto Insurance Fraud Task Force, led by the Department of Insurance, revealed Abujudeh, owner and operator of Perfect Auto Detailers, filed more than 35 claims on his company insurance policy claiming that various fictitious employees crashed customer vehicles as they were being moved. Abujudeh claimed the vehicles were taken to his shop for auto detailing when the collisions occurred.
During a search warrant conducted at Abujudeh’s residence, 25 fraudulent California driver’s licenses were recovered with Abujudeh’s picture on them as well as evidence of the various fraudulent insurance claims and vehicle sales. By following the title transfers on each of these vehicles, the team began to unravel the complex web of fraud involving Abujudeh and his co-defendants. Investigators revealed that the licenses were used by Abujudeh in various curbstoning and grand theft schemes.