Florida Police Bust Garages For Illegal Tows, Insurance Fraud After Owners Seen Flashing Cash On Facebook

Here’s a helpful hint to anyone wishing to run a million-dollar insurance scam — don’t post pictures on Facebook of you and your friends waving wads of cash.

The owners of five body shops in Florida were arrested earlier this week, charged with illegally towing cars that had been in accidents — only to then charge insurance companies thousands for shoddy repairs. Some people say they never even got their car back from the garages.

The scam starts with tow truck drivers listening in to police scanners, on the hunt for accidents. The drivers arrive on the scene early and convince the person involved in the collision to let them tow the damaged vehicle.

“That is illegal,” a Hialeah, FL, police LT. tells CBS Miami. “The moment that happens that should be a red flag and you should say no.”

The cars would then be towed to a body shop which would charge insurance companies top dollar, while holding on to cars for weeks at a time; only to return them still dinged up, if they were returned at all.

One victim tells CBS Miami that it took longer than 30 days for him to get his car back from one of the body shops, and even then the side mirror was still hanging by a thread. Meanwhile, his insurer paid out $4,500 to the body shop.

The garages and tow drivers were the subject of a joint investigation between the Hialeah police and Allstate insurance, which says the scammers bilked more than a million dollars out of insurance companies over the last five years.

“At the end of the day it ends up in higher premiums,” said an Allstate rep about the end result of insurance fraud.

Meanwhile, the Hialeah police lieutenant summed everything up like he was in the opening segment of CSI: Miami: “These individuals opened five collision shops in five years and made one mistake… One of them opened up in Hialeah.”

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  1. Cat says:

    Guidopolis?

  2. Straspey says:

    Have you ever wondered why many of those low-life, so-called “Reality Shows” often take place in the state of Florida…?

  3. Cat says:

    Dude in the photo had to run a scam, he’s got to pay for those three girls somehow. Chicks don’t hang with fat ugly dudes for free.

    • TheMansfieldMauler says:

      Maybe he has a great personality.

      • Cat says:

        I take it you’ve never been on a blind date.

        “great personality” = kiss of death.

        • TheMansfieldMauler says:

          No no no. A great personality and being funny and confident is what every woman is looking for in a man and NOT money. Money is not important at all.

          Just ask any woman and she’ll tell you.

          • Cat says:

            …as she walks out the bar with a humorless cro-magnon.

          • Jane_Gage says:

            I cruise the gutter looking for men with less education and money than I have.

          • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

            Hey, I got funny+great personality without a penny to his name. He was the worst dressed guy I have ever dated, but with a lot of potential to be great looking. One hair cut to impress me later and getting his clothes stolen from the laundry at his apartments (not my doing) and he was pretty dang good looking. Poor as all get out though. We are both teachers now and do okay. He is the greatest husband a girl could ask for though. 17 years later and I am still laughing and having a wonderful life with him. I’d rather make do with the money and have a great guy.

    • Coffee says:

      I can tell from one glance at that photograph that I would garrote all three of those ladies if forced to spend more than six or seven minutes with them.

    • Guppy06 says:

      Bitter much?

    • Mrs. w/1 child says:

      Men get what they deserve when it comes to their dating choices. Women deserve the men they allow. See? They deserve each other. Nifty system huh?

      Men – Want a gold digger who only cares about money (not you)? You get what you deserve! Women – Only care about money? You get what you deserve!

      Win/win fro everyone.

    • failurate says:

      Which dude?

    • Clyde Barrow says:

      @cat; I wouldn’t give those girls such a break. If they are hanging with his type, they’re not too far from the tree themselves. As they say, “birds of a feather flock together”.

    • Evil_Otto would rather pay taxes than make someone else rich says:

      Just another case of “the only important thing in the world is money”.

  4. sirwired says:

    Sounds like there are some crooked adjusters in the mix too. Last time I had body work done, the adjuster came out and took pictures of the damage, and then after the work was done, came back to check the repairs.

  5. rpm773 says:

    Here’s a helpful hint to anyone wishing to run a million-dollar insurance scam ‚Äî don’t post pictures on Facebook of you and your friends waving wads of cash.

    No. Continue to do this. Please.

  6. deathbecomesme says:

    “And we would have gotten away with it too! If you kids hadn’t meddled around in our business!”

  7. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    Hialeah is a VERY special place, you know.

  8. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    I’d call them dumb criminals, but this insults the smarter criminals who don’t take pictures of themselves with their ill gotten gains and plaster them all over the internet.

    I have mixed feelings about Facebook – for a while, I thought it might lead to the downfall of modern society, but now I think it will make it easier for law enforcement to catch idiots.

  9. axolotl says:

    “These individuals opened five collision shops in five years and made one mistake… One of them opened up in Hialeah.”
    Ohh my goodness, please tell me he took his sunglasses off halfway through this sentence.

  10. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    How does something like this continue for 5 years?

    My car is held hostage, my insurance company sends me a letter stating your claim is complete, have fun with your fixed car, I call insurance and tell them the shop is holding my car hostage and never fixed anything, insurance company calls police, body shops employees are arrested.

    That should take 3 months, tops.

  11. u1itn0w2day says:

    Know people had to pay 175$ to get a stolen car out of storage less 24 hours after they recovered it. The towing/body shop industry has been riddled with scammers in most states for decades. And all for one reason-somebody else is paying for it syndrome ie insurance companies paying for most of it.

  12. vliam says:

    “At the end of the day it ends up in higher premiums,”

    Yeah, what doesn’t?

  13. MickeyMoo says:

    I wish Allstate had been 1/2 as concerned when they were f¬µ¬©«®ing me over when one of their clients hit my parked car. I was lied to by their 1-800 person and denied a rental car over a weekend when I was moving, lied to repeatedly by their sleazy sleazy SLEAZY adjuster – I don’t care mellifluous the voice of their spokesperson is, I would never willingly do business with that company even if my life depended on it.

  14. Awesome McAwesomeness says:

    So let me get this straight, innocent people get stuck with higher premiums because insurance companies can’t get their stuff together to make sure that repairs paid for are being done and done right? Way to go Allstate. Passing on the cost of your mistakes to consumers is just palin douchey. You suck, as do the scammers.

  15. cdoc says:

    This same thing happens every day in NJ except they legalized it by giving no-bid towing contracts to relatives of the local politicians.

  16. nybiker says:

    I click on the link to watch the video and guess what, they force a commercial in front of it. Well, Homie da Clown don’t play that game. But what’s really funny is that the ad is for the insurance company with the blue & white color scheme and the annoying lady. Of course, as soon as the ad started I refreshed the page to stop it. I guess if people are clicking to watch a story about car insurance fraud, the tv station thinks that people will want to watch an ad about a car insurance company.

  17. Yomiko says:

    I heart the scamalamadingdong tag so hard.