Author:Carbajal, Michael, Jr.

They Hear It First!

If you want to know what will be news tomorrow, ask a store front broker today. The people in the front lines are always privy to certain information that usually takes time to filter through to the general public.

Several recent incidents prove the veracity of this axiom. Corruption in the N.Y.C. Police Department is nothing new. Any producer who has dealings with the public, hears rumors consistently that cops are on the take and ripping off drug dealers. The tabloids make it look as if this is widespread. It isn't. There are relatively few cops involved, but they have had a field day until a few got trapped. There are probably some more out there but caution will be the order for a while.

Adjusters submitting phony claims is something that has been going on for twenty years or more. I am surprised that the authorities have taken so long to clamp down on these crooks.

Auto body shops that exaggerate the size of a claim is also nothing new. I have been writing about his for years. Every once in a while the fraud bureau or some other agency will make a few arrests and the next day it is business as usual. Even the Robert Plan, that is forever vigilant, takes its share of hits in this area. However, it gets beat less than most other companies.

A few days ago I was in a body shop and the owner was complaining that he had a car in his shop that was insured by GEICO. He was visited by someone named "Jimenez" who told him that "for two hundred bucks I can get you two thousand more." The body shop owner "was forced" to accept and the bribe was paid. I don't know if "Jimenez" was employed by GEICO or if he was a middleman, my body shop owner contact told me.

The NYS Dept. of Motor Vehicles has its share of crooks. Dishonest employees keep getting arrested, but this does not stop illegal activities. Jim Rose, who is in charge of dealing with the honesty of DMV employees, does a great job, but he will never be able to stop the scams of some civil servants. The DMV Fraud Bureau people are a group that I can't even comment on. They do so little that there is nothing I can say about them other than they occupy space in the DMV offices. Their function is to investigate fraudulent activities involving the DMV but not DMV employees. This is Jim Rose's job. It doesn't do much good if Mr. Rose puts out fires on one side of the counter while there is a conflagration on the public side.

I reported, several weeks ago, about a practice that...

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