A Rockville Centre auto body shop owner is denying insurance fraud charges after she allegedly attempted to scam an insurance company out of more than $12,000.
Lorraine Pilitz, owner of Autotech Collision, pleaded not guilty this week to charges pf insurance fraud and falsifying business records. Autotech was charged with criminal possession of a forged instrument and falsifying business records.
The 52-year-old Merrick woman was driving a PT Cruiser owned by the shop when she was rear-ended and falsely submitted a claim to Geico, the company that insures the other driver, saying that her car was totaled in September 2009, Nassau County prosecutors said.
When Geico saw the car at Pilitz’s body shop, it had been dismantled and was in pieces inside the shop, prosecutors said. Geico agreed to pay the full cost of the damages, and asked Pilitz for proof of the vehicle’s value, prosecutors said.
Pilitz provided Geico with a hand-written list of expenses and a fraudulent bill of sale indicating that she paid Autotech a total of $12,491, including $991 in tax, for the vehicle, and a fraudulent DMV vehicle ownership transfer form, prosecutors said.
“When people defraud insurance companies, it results in higher costs for the rest of us,” Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said.
Pilitz faces up to three years in prison. The business faces a fine of up to $10,000.