GEICO Files New Civil RICO Claim Against Florida Company
According to reporting from Autobody News, GEICO has filed a federal civil RICO lawsuit against a Florida-based windshield repair company. The large insurance company alleges that the defendant — a Tampa area auto repair business called Shazam Auto Glass ― committed fraud by falsifying windshield repairs. In this article, our Miami RICO claims attorneys provide an overview of the key issues in this case and explain how civil RICO claims work in Florida.
Allegations: Fraudulent Windshield Replacement Claim
In its legal complaint, GEICO contends that Shazam Auto Glass, a company based in Hillsborough County, FL, engaged in a fraud scheme that involved charging for false window repair and replacement services. The national insurance firm argues that there was an ongoing, repetitive fraud scheme.
In total, GEICO alleges that this fraud scheme resulted in the insurer suffering nearly $350,000 in financial losses. The insurance company also claims that this fraud scheme dates back to at least 2016. Finally, the plaintiff alleges that the company and its owner were fully aware of the fact that the fraud was occurring.
An Overview of Civil RICO Claims in Florida
When you think of RICO, the first thing that comes to mind may be criminal charges. Indeed, for most people, the term “RICO” is closely associated with the Mafia or other complex criminal schemes. To be sure, RICO — Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act — is indeed a criminal charge that can be filed against entities engaged in fraud.
Beyond that, plaintiffs that have been defrauded also have the legal right to file a civil RICO claim against perpetrators. Civil RICO cases are extremely complex legal claims. In order to prevail in a civil RICO fraud action, the plaintiff must be able to prove that the defendant(s):
- Actually defrauded the victim;
- Intended to defraud the victim; and
- Engaged in a pattern of misconduct that is reasonably likely to continue.
Notably, in a civil RICO claim, a plaintiff has the right to seek treble damages for their losses. In other words, when successful, a plaintiff in a RICO may be awarded three times their actual damages by the court. As an example, if GEICO can prove that it suffered $350,000 in financial damages through the defendant’s fraud, it would have the right to seek up to $1.05 million in compensation through a civil RICO lawsuit. There is a lot at stake in Florida civil RICO claims.
Get Help From a Civil RICO Claims Lawyer in South Florida
At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our Florida business law attorneys have deep experience handling civil RICO claims. We have the skills and legal knowledge needed to protect the rights and interests of you and your company. For a free, completely confidential initial consultation, please call us today. We have offices in Miami, West Palm Beach, and Palm Beach Gardens, and we handle civil RICO claims in Miami-Dade County, Palm Beach County, and Broward County.