A South Bay man accused of running a chop shop operation aimed at taking advantage of auto insurance policies was officially charged Thursday afternoon.
William Joslin, 43, pleaded not guilty to operating the chop shop out of his Paradise Hills home and to ten more counts of defrauding insurance companies.
Deputy District Attorney Luis Mendez said Joslin recruited people who were behind on their car or truck payments -- and wanted to get out from under them -- to support his scheme.
From Nov. 2012 to this year, Joslin is accused of convincing the owners to park their cars at a previously agreed-upon location and then call 911 to report their vehicle had been stolen.
Mendez said Joslin would then take the cars to a chop shop, strip them for parts, sell them for personal profit and get rid of the vehicle’s shell.
The owners would collect their insurance company payouts to cover their "losses."
This scheme was repeated at least ten times with BMWs, Acuras and Nissans, prosecutors said, and the fraudulent payouts could be in the ballpark of $100,000.
Since the case is still under investigation, the vehicle owners could also face criminal charges in the future.
Mendez said this sort of crime has direct public costs because everyone who has vehicle insurance will most likely have to pay more due to these fraudulent claims.
“It’s causing losses when they didn’t really occur, and so therefore they’re artificially inflating the rates by causing the insurance companies to cover more losses than they normally would,” said Mendez.
Joslin's defense attorney said that claim is nonsense, adding that if your insurance rates go up, it won't be because of Joslin.