Mass. Auto Damage Appraiser Caught in Scheme

April 8, 2003

Criminal complaints have been issued against a Mansfield auto damage appraiser who schemed to falsely inflate auto repair estimates and attempted to be paid additional money from repair shops in exchange for his business, Attorney General Tom Reilly announced.

The Quincy District Court complaints charge Karl D. “Dan” Clemmey, Jr., 44, of Mansfield, Mass. with three counts of motor vehicle insurance fraud, two counts of attempted larceny over $250 and one count each of larceny over $250 and soliciting a felony in connection with a scheme to inflate or otherwise falsify motor vehicle damage appraisals in return for payments from two auto body shop owners. He is scheduled to be arraigned April 16.

The criminal complaints stem from an investigation by AG Reilly’s Office and the Insurance Fraud Bureau of Massachusetts into the alleged actions of Clemmey in his capacity as a licensed automobile appraiser for Mass Appraisal Service in Randolph.

The investigation found that in Sept. 1998, Clemmey, allegedly attempted to solicit a $500 payment from a Stoughton auto body shop owner for each appraisal he wrote on vehicles being repaired at that shop. Clemmey allegedly told the auto body shop owner that he had written several appraisals on vehicles in the shop at amounts greater than required to repair the actual damage. Clemmey allegedly told the shop owner that he wanted a $500 payment per vehicle for the higher appraisals he had already written and wanted a $500 payment for every future appraisal he did at the shop.

In another incident in Sept. 1998, Clemmey allegedly inflated the damage appraisal on a 1998 Chevrolet Tahoe at the body shop for repair. This vehicle was insured by Reliance Insurance Company. Clemmey’s appraisal listed the vehicle repair cost at $7,603. This appraisal included significant repairs and replacement of the rear axle and suspension. The investigation found that this appraisal allegedly overstated the damage and that the approximate $3,000 cost to repair the rear axle and suspension was unnecessary.

The investigation further found that Clemmey allegedly inflated the damage appraisal for a 1997 Lexus 400 insured with the Commerce Insurance Company. Originally, the Lexus had been appraised at a Commerce Insurance drive-in appraisal center with $1,579 in damage. Subsequently, a different auto body repair shop where the car had been fixed requested a supplemental appraisal to cover additional damage discovered in the repair process. Commerce hired Mass Appraisal Service, which assigned the matter to Clemmey, who submitted a supplemental appraisal to Commerce listing an additional $5,388 in damages. A later investigation by Commerce Insurance determined that Clemmey had listed $2,454 in unnecessary repairs in his appraisal.

In a related scheme, Clemmey allegedly under-appraised significant accident damage to a 1992 Mazda 929. Clemmey’s initial appraisal listed the cost of repair at $7,259. This figure was near the amount the insurer, Commerce Insurance Company, would have declared the vehicle a total loss. If Commerce had declared the vehicle a total loss, it would have paid its insured the actual cash value of the car, approximately $10,775, and sold the vehicle as salvage. By allegedly underwriting his initial appraisal, Clemmey committed Commerce to completing repairs to the Mazda, which totaled $13,176 and was $2,401 more than the vehicle’s replacement value.

In each scheme, Clemmey allegedly asked for additional money for the auto body shop owner from which he could be paid his $500 kickback.

Clemmey is no longer employed with Mass Appraisal.

Defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Assistant Attorney General John A. Curseaden of AG Reilly’s Insurance and Unemployment Fraud Division is prosecuting the case, which was investigated by the Insurance Fraud Bureau of Massachusetts and AG Reilly’s Office.

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