ONLY ON ABC7NEWS.COM: Auto repair shop in Pacifica stripped of business license amid accusations of fraud

ByRandall Yip KGO logo
Wednesday, September 25, 2019
EXCLUSIVE: Auto repair shop ordered to close
Undercover agents say they brought in vehicles with known defects to a repair shop. They say repairs weren't done and they were charged for unnecessary services. It's a story you'll see only on ABC7 News.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- The owner of an auto repair shop accused of making unnecessary and fraudulent repairs will lose his business license after a one-year state undercover investigation. 7 On Your Side first broke this story last year when state and local agents raided the shop.

Just minutes before the scheduled hearing, Presiding Administrative Law Judge Benjamin Harris cleared the courtroom for an unscheduled settlement meeting. Three hours later, the state announced terms of the settlement.

A smiling and confident Fabio Menjivar of FMC Automotive Services in Pacifica entered the Harris State Building in Oakland.

RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Criminal investigation launched on Pacifica auto repair shop

He later told 7 On Your Side off-camera he has nothing to worry about and would act as his own attorney.

With several undercover witnesses from the Bureau of Automotive Repair standing by to testify, Judge Benjamin Harris asked everyone to leave. That judge also banned our camera from the courtroom. We took pictures earlier.

Donald Johnson is with the Bureau of Automotive Repair.

"He sold work that wasn't necessary and he charged work that wasn't performed," said Johnson.

The accusations are the result of an undercover sting in which cars with known defects are brought in by agents posing as shoppers.

"We see if the repair facility successfully repairs the vehicle, repairs it properly, repairs it as invoiced," Johnson said.

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

Sky 7 brought you exclusive pictures of the raid on FMC in June 2018. Investigators interrogated Menjivar and seized evidence.

Tueday's settlement made the scheduled three-day hearing unnecessary.

"There was a settlement, a stipulated settlement agreed to. It was a settlement conference which resulted in a revocation of the respondent's license," Johnson explained.

Full terms of the confidential settlement will not be made public. But we do know Menjivar will be allowed to reapply for his license after one year. He will be required to go through a hearing before his license can be reinstated.

FMC is expected to close down in four-to-six weeks after all the paperwork of the settlement is finalized.

Johnson had this advice for consumers.

"Always sign a written estimate, always ask questions if you're not certain what's going to be performed, and always receive a copy of the document that you signed."

Despite promising to give us an interview, Menjivar left without talking with us. The San Mateo County District Attorney's Office still has an open criminal investigation against FMC. That investigation is unlikely to move forward.

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