Fla. Auto Shop Owners Charged with Fraud

January 26, 2005

The owners of a Florida auto repair shop were arrested this week on insurance fraud charges stemming from an investigation that reportedly showed they underreported payroll to avoid paying thousands of dollars in workers’ compensation premiums.

Edward and Mary Thibeault, owners of Ed’s Auto Repair, located at 2936 North SR 7, were booked into the Broward County Jail with bond set at $1,500 each. If convicted, each faces up to five years in prison on the third-degree felony charge. The arrests were made by insurance fraud investigators with the Department of Financial Services, Division of Insurance Fraud.

The investigation began after former employees complained that the business owners had been paying them in cash to deliberately understate the company’s payroll to Bridgefield Employers Insurance. The complainants told investigators they believed the Thibeaults, both 50, had been doing this for more than 20 years.

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