A Valley Springs, Calif., man was arrested earlier this month after an investigation of consumer complaints by the California Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR), in conjunction with the Amador County and Calaveras County district attorneys’ offices, the Calaveras Enterprise reported.
Larry Robbins, owner of Frank’s Frame and Body Shop in Valley Springs, was charged with 38 felony counts, including grand theft, insurance fraud, obtaining money by false pretenses and elder abuse. He is scheduled to be arraigned Aug. 30 in Superior Court.
“If you have had repairs done at Frank’s Frame and Body Shop, then you may have paid for parts you didn’t receive or labor that wasn’t performed,” DCA Acting Director Brian Stiger told the newspaper. “We’re asking anyone who believes they may be a victim to contact the Department of Consumer Affairs.”
The investigation was sparked when seven customers who thought they may have been the victims of fraud filed complaints with the BAR. After inspecting their vehicles, BAR found evidence that Robbins had claimed to have provided more than $16,000 in parts and labor for auto repair work that was not performed, defrauding both customers and their insurance companies, the newspaper reported.
“This should serve as a wake-up call to any shops that are cheating their customers,” said BAR Chief Sherry Mehl. “If they insist on doing business in an unlawful manner, they will be caught and prosecuted.”
The case has been referred to the Calaveras County District Attorney’s Office for prosecution.
BAR shared these tips for consumers when taking a vehicle to be repaired:
Verify that the automotive repair dealer’s license is valid by checking www.bar.ca.gov or calling (800) 952-5210.
Ask for a written estimate for any repairs before work begins.
Ask for the return of any parts replaced during the repair.
Ask for a detailed final invoice upon completion.
Read the story from the Calaveras Enterprise