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Waukesha, Wis., body shop owner Brian Bautz has been accused of fraudulently conducting business by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which alleged Bautz ordered employees to increase vehicle damage prior to estimates and quoted prices for OEM parts while actually using salvage parts, among other misdeeds.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel obtained a copy of the FBI search warrant for Bautz’s shop, Auto Integrity Inc., and the FBI quotes Bautz as saying, “You can’t be honest in this business and make a decent living.”
The Sentinel reported that the warrant alleges:
Bautz ordered employees to increase damage to vehicles prior to insurance appraisers inspecting them.
Every repair had a “double sheet.” One was for employees and documented the actual work to be performed, and the other was an inflated estimate.
Bautz would order OEM parts to use the invoices for billing, return most of the OEM parts ordered, then use parts from salvage yards for actual repairs.
The shop owner had a room of damaged parts used as props in photos sent to insurers, and he billed the companies for damage that didn’t exist.
An insurance appraiser got wind of Bautz’s scheme after finding a salvage yard marking on a part used in a repair, then accepted a load of fire wood and free car washes in exchange for keeping quiet.
Vehicles inspected by State Farm and American Family showed that many repairs had not been completed as billed to them by Auto Integrity.
The FBI searched the shop on April 29 to obtain parts, financial records and vehicle repair estimates. The shop remains open for business, and Bautz has yet to be charged, the newspaper reported.