ONLY ON ABC7NEWS.COM: Pacifica auto shop accused by state of charging for unnecessary repairs after undercover sting and raid

ByRandall Yip KGO logo
Tuesday, March 5, 2019
EXCLUSIVE: State accused Pacifica auto shop of fraud
7 On Your Side has learned exclusively formal accusations of fraud have been filed against the owner of an auto repair shop in Pacifica.

PACIFICA, Calif (KGO) (KGO) -- 7 On Your Side has learned exclusively formal accusations of fraud have been filed against the owner of an auto repair shop in Pacifica.

Details of an undercover operation conducted after allegations of customers being charged for unnecessary repairs or repairs that weren't performed are detailed in a 16-page accusation from the state Bureau of Automotive Repair. The shop remains in business while the owner denies any wrongdoing.

7 On Your Side found Fabio Menjivar outside FMC Automotive Services in Pacifica.

The owner of the car repair shop is named in an accusation released by investigators with the Bureau of Automotive Repair.

"The Bureau sent in three undercover cars to FMC and the bureau confirmed FMC was selling unnecessary services and in some cases not even doing those services." Said Fidel Reyes of the Bureau of Automotive Repair.

Menjivar declined to talk on camera, but said the accusations were bogus and complained the investigation was prompted by a fired employee.

Sky 7 flew over when agents including Fidel Reyes of the Bureau of Automotive Repair conducted a raid of FMC Automotive Services last June.

Authorities from both the state and the San Mateo County District Attorneys office seized potential evidence and records, including what they allege were improper invoices.

RELATED: Criminal investigation launched on Pacifica auto repair shop

In February 2017 undercover agents brought a 2001 Toyota with worn out front brake pads to FMC.

In the accusation, investigators allege FMC unnecessarily replaced the front brake rotors, and also unnecessarily rebuilt the right front brake caliper. They also allege work to the rear brake shoes was unnecessary and improper and the brake system as a whole was not properly bled.

Six months later agents posing as customers brought in a 2001 Chevrolet with a bad fuel injector. The accusation alleges FMC did fix the injector, but among other things, also billed for spark plugs and wires, a PCV Valve, fuel filter, air filter and fuel rail that did not need to be replaced and were not actually repaired.

Nearly three months later agents returned with a 2001 Mitsubishi with a bad exhaust gas recirculation solenoid. FMC is accused of, among other things, charging for an unnecessary tune up and parts which were not installed, compression checks which were invoiced but not completed and a valve clearance service not performed.

Reyes says all the services were performed at supposedly sale prices.

"This particular shop says it will be a lot but charges you less, like it's a discount to make you feel like you're getting a good deal," said Reyes.

Andy Binsfeld owns Pacifica Automatic Transmission down the street on Palmetto Avenue.

"If the implications are true, it's disappointing because anybody who comes to Palmetto automotive repair and anyone of these shops in this area should be given fair value," he said.

We reached out to Menjivar's attorney several times, but he did not get back to us. The District Attorney's Office tells us its own investigation into FMC is ongoing.

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.