A South Lake Tahoe man has been arrested, accused of auto insurance fraud.
Braden Scott Leeds was arrested Monday by investigators with the El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office after a nine-count felony complaint was filed with the El Dorado County Superior Court. The arrest was the culmination of a two-month investigation by California Bureau of Automotive Repair investigators, with assistance of investigators from the DA’s Office.
One deputy district attorney and one investigator are dedicated to investigate and prosecute cases involving auto insurance fraud under a grant from the state Department of Insurance, according to a District Attorney’s Office news release.
Leeds reportedly moved to the South Lake Tahoe area from Texas after a July hail storm and set up shop at 2028 Fifth St., Suite 3, under the business name Disaster Management Group. Leeds allegedly engaged in a false-billing scheme, in which he was paid by insurance companies for new parts to be installed on hail-damaged vehicles but instead performed paint-less dent repair. Leeds also is accused of grand theft by fraudulent pretenses and operating a business without a license.
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“This case illustrates how not only the vehicle owner is victimized by believing they received new parts for the vehicle, but the insurance companies are victimized by paying for new parts that were never received by their policy holders,” District Attorney Vern Pierson said in a written statement. “This type of scam can have a direct correlation with a rise in auto insurance rates for everyone.”
Leeds was booked into El Dorado County Jail with bail set at $60,000. He subsequently posted bail and was released with a promise to appear in court.