Mass. Motor Vehicle Appraiser Reads Fine Print – Guilty of Insurance Fraud

October 23, 2004

A former Mansfield, Massachusetts motor vehicle appraiser has pleaded guilty to charges that he falsified various appraisal reports submitted to Reliance Insurance Company and Commerce Insurance Company, Attorney General Tom Reilly announced.

Karl D. (“Dan”) Clemmey, 46, of Mansfield, pleaded guilty to three counts of insurance fraud in Quincy District Court. Judge Mark Coven sentenced Clemmey to a one year jail term, suspended for two years. Judge Coven also fined Clemmey $1,500 and ordered him to repay Commerce full restitution of $2,401. Clemmey was further ordered to have no contact with the auto body shop owner and one of its employees, and to stay away from their business.

Clemmey worked as an independent appraiser for Mass Appraisal Service Inc. of Randolph from July 6, 1998 through May 10, 1999. As a licensed appraiser, Clemmey inspected all types of vehicles at repair shops on and around the “Auto Mile.” He also wrote appraisal reports summarizing his findings for use by vehicle owners, lessors, and their insurers.

The charges in this case stemmed from three incidents that occurred between August and October 1998. At that time, Clemmey reportedly inflated the estimated damage on a 1998 Chevrolet Tahoe 4×4 insured by Reliance Insurance Company. Clemmey’s appraisal listed repairs costing $7,604 and included significant work on the rear axle and suspension. An investigation revealed that approximately $3,000 of listed repairs were unnecessary and that the defendant intentionally overwrote the appraisal.

In a related scheme at the same shop, Clemmey reportedly underwrote an initial appraisal on a severely damaged 1992 Mazda 929 insured by Commerce Insurance Company. Clemmey’s initial appraisal estimated repairs costing $7,259. In fact, this amount was very close to the value Commerce would have declared the car a total loss.

Had Commerce been correctly informed, it would have paid its insured the actual cash value, approximately $10,300. By underwriting his appraisal, Clemmey committed Commerce to repair the Mazda, which ultimately cost $2,400 more than the vehicle’s replacement value.

Finally, Clemmey reportedly inflated the estimated damage on a 1997 Lexus 400, also insured by Commerce. Originally, the Lexus was appraised at a drive-in center as having only $1,580 in damages. Subsequently, the repair shop working on the vehicle requested a supplemental appraisal to address further discovered damage. Clemmey submitted an appraisal to Commerce estimating an additional $5,389 in damages.

An investigation by Commerce later determined that Clemmey’s appraisal included unnecessary repairs amounting to $2,455, approximately 45% of his appraisal. Commerce only paid for the repairs it determined were necessary.

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