Thursday, June 23, 2011

Perfect Collision Body Shop added extra damage to vehicles for more insurance money: prosecutors 

Brooklyn prosecutors put the brakes on a pair of auto body bamboozlers who added extra damage to vehicles then over-billed insurers.

"The fraud was very clear here," District Attorney Charles Hynes said Thursday of the alleged scam at Perfect Collision in Borough Park. "The defendants were taking cars with minor damage and enhancing that."

Arrested were owner Elie Berger, 32, and his employee, Hershy Greenberger, 23.

They are accused of pounding vehicles with hammers and chisels to compound blemishes and increase their profit margin.

They would then cash refund checks from insurers and pocket the money, officials charged. When investigators raided Berger's home, they found more than $700,000 in cash - even though he had filed for public assistance. This and other findings will likely lead to more charges of tax and welfare fraud, prosecutors said.

Both mechanics were still slapped with a truckload of counts, including insurance fraud and grand larceny.

Prosecutors asked for a whopping $500,000 bail, but Berger was released on a $25,000 bond and Greenberger was freed without bail.

The courtroom was packed with more than 100 supporters from their Hasidic community.

Perfect Collision body shop operated for two years and was under investigation for most of that period, officials said, after sharp-eyed Geico assessors noticed vehicles with dubious dents.

Claim adjusters took before and after photos of the cars to prove the racket.

This type of scheme "saddles other New Yorkers with a fraud tax," Hynes noted.


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