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Shop Owner Charged in Double-Billing

September 20, 2000|SUE FOX

City prosecutors have filed criminal charges against the owner of an auto body repair shop in the alleged billing of customers and insurance companies for the same work, Los Angeles City Atty. James Hahn said Tuesday.

Mehdi Roozbanian, 46, of Granada Hills, was charged Monday with several misdemeanors, stemming from his work on two vehicles whose owners accused him of double-billing and complained to the state Bureau of Automotive Repair.

Roozbanian, the operator of Sherman Auto Body Inc. at 18405 Eddy St., faces three counts of grand theft, two counts each of preparing a false insurance claim, presenting a false insurance claim and failing to give a written estimate for repairs, and one count of making false and misleading statements, prosecutors said.

In one August 1998 incident, 20th Century Insurance was allegedly billed $730 for parts for a 1984 Chevrolet pickup truck that the vehicle's owner had already bought, said Deputy City Atty. Mark Lambert. The truck owner purchased the parts elsewhere for less than $300.

The second complaint involved a 1989 Jaguar that had been heavily damaged by vandals and declared a total loss by Superior Insurance Co. The car owner, who retained ownership of the car as part of the settlement with the insurance company, allegedly paid Roozbanian $4,000 to repair it in October 1999, Lambert said. State investigators found that Roozbanian had billed Superior Insurance $945 for the same work.

Lambert said such tactics are relatively common.

Roozbanian is scheduled for arraignment Oct. 12 in Los Angeles Superior Court.

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