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Hyundai Seeks to Triple Damages in Fraud Case

July 06, 2001|From Bloomberg News

Hyundai Motor America Inc. has won a $1.9-million award from a federal jury in Las Vegas that found that a dent repair company's employees defrauded the U.S. arm of South Korea's largest auto maker.

The Fountain Valley company filed papers in court Thursday under federal racketeering laws to seek a court order tripling the award, which was rendered three weeks ago.

The company's suit against three employees of closely held Ace-A-Dent Inc. alleged that the repair company billed for work that either wasn't performed properly or not done at all.

The value of Hyundai's vehicles was reduced by the inadequate repairs and fraudulent overcharges, said the company, a subsidiary of auto maker Hyundai Motor Co. of Korea.

"The punitive damages awarded in this case should act as a deterrent to future fraudulent activities of this nature," said Kenneth E. Keller, a San Francisco lawyer who headed the litigation team for Hyundai.

The jury awarded $1.5 million in compensatory damages and $450,000 in punitive damages on June 15 after a weeklong trial.

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