When the Whine Under the Hood Is a Dead Rat

Finding a good, honest automobile mechanic can be difficult. I’ve been lucky; my car is fairly reliable and my mechanic really is honest. Unfortunately, there’s a mechanic in the Bay Area who invented a unique way to rip off the public.

Mehran Baranriz and his wife Bita Imani owned Group Specialist, an automobile repair facility in Redwood City. Their method of operation was quite profitable…for themselves. They billed insurance companies $875,000 for work that was never performed. But it’s what they did to some unlucky individuals that is the Pièce de résistance.

Many customers were told they had damage from rats. The mechanics would show them the dead rats. What the customers didn’t know was that the repair shop bought rats, killed them, and planted them under the hood of customers’ cars.

Last year Mr. Baranriz pleaded no contest to multiple counts of insurance fraud. He was sentenced on Friday to four years in prison. His wife had pleaded no contest to felony tax evasion; she received six months.

Comments are closed.