Repair shop takes insurance money and closes

Posted at 1:27 PM, Aug 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-29 22:48:51-04

Three months. That's how long Mike and Christy Supyk say they waited for their car to be repaired last year.

They had taken to 1st Class Collision in Phoenix.

Then the business closed.

And while the couple got their car back, they say many of the repairs had not been made.

Yet, the Supyk's insurance company had paid nearly $10,000 for those repairs--making the checks out to both Christy and the repair shop.

Christy says her signature on the check had been forged.

She says her insurer, Progressive Insurance, wouldn't give her more money for the needed repairs.

So she let me know. We found the same location had insurance trouble before.

A year earlier, then-owner Mike Griesa was convicted of insurance fraud and forgery.

State records show him accused of "directing employees to cause additional damage"... to "file higher claims with insurers."

We found Griesa back at the location. 

But he says it's now a new business and he had nothing to do with the Supyk's car.

Griesa says after his fraud conviction, he sold the business, to a man named Brian Holzer.

Griesa says it was Holzer who dealt with the couple's car.

We could not find Holzer through phone calls or addresses listed for him.

In a cell-phone video taken by Mike Supyk, a man identified as Brian Holzer admits to cashing the Supyk's checks.

"I cashed it. I cashed it and I ordered the parts. My bank accounts have been seized," he says in the video.

So why did Progressive insurance send $10,000 to the business, after a fraud conviction at the same location a year earlier?

It couldn't be that they didn't know.

Records show it was Progressive's own people who started the investigation.

They got a tip, made a "fraud referral" to authorities and that led to Griesa's fraud conviction.

In a statement, Progressive says: "As you know, following the accident, the Supyk's chose to take their vehicle to 1st Class Collision.  While 1st Class Collision was on probation at the time, they were still in business legally and we treated them like any other shop, as we were required to do." 

"We were not able to tell the Supyk's about 1st Class Collision's past, as by doing so we would have risked a lawsuit for interference with their business and by telling them to take their vehicle to a different shop, could have been accused of steering as well.  At the same time, we tried to protect the Supyk's by naming them on the payment, so they could endorse the check when the repairs to the vehicle were finished."

"This was an unfortunate incident but we worked with the Supyk's to get them the payments they were owed.  Progressive takes fraud seriously and fights fraud to keep costs down for our customers."

After we got involved, Progressive Insurance did re-issue the checks for the Supyk's car repairs.

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