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Coalition Against Insurance Fraud

Texas body shop damages vehicles, reports fake wrecks

March 20, 2019, Travis County, TX — A Travis County body shop owner has been sentenced to 10 years of probation after pleading guilty to reporting wrecks that never took place and damaging vehicles to increase insurance payouts, the Texas Department of Insurance reported.

The fraud took place over about five years, according to TDI investigators. During that time, Elias Zapata changed the body shop’s name several times to avoid bad reviews.

Zapata pleaded guilty to a first-degree felony in February. He was sentenced March 13 to probation and ordered to repay more than $76,000.

The case was prosecuted by Travis County Special Assistant District Attorney Brian Chandler, one of six prosecutors employed by TDI who work in district attorneys’ offices across the state to fight insurance fraud.

TDI investigators are certified peace officers and work closely with law enforcement authorities around the state when investigating fraud cases.

Source: Insurance Journal

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