Two owners of a Redwood, California auto body repair shop pleaded no contest on Monday to defrauding car owners and auto insurance companies out of $1.2 million in false insurance claims.
The owners, a married couple, allegedly faked rodent damage to vehicles of unsuspecting car owners using dead mice and droppings. They were each charged 56 counts of presenting fraudulent claims and five counts of grand theft by false pretenses.
Their plea deals will require them to pay full restitution to the auto insurance company and one of the party's could be sentenced to jail time.
Prosecutors said the couple duped customers using dead rodents to convince them they needed $1.2 million in fraudulent repair between January 2003 and March 2007.
The couple billed 25 insurance companies for 236 claims over four years for work that was never performed, said the chief deputy district attorney.
The fraud was discovered by an insurance company auditor who was tasked with calculating the statewide average for rodent damage.
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